Wednesday, July 04, 2012

America can only survive with old fashioned morals and ethics; but only God's grace saves from sin



A great way to celebrate this 4th of July is to watch the movie, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" with your family, after the cookout and fireworks show.  It is great to watch it again and notice all the biblical references and principles peppered throughout the film.  The character played by Jimmy Stewart read the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and the Bible during his filibuster in the movie.  He quotes Leviticus 19:18 and Jesus, "Love Thy neighbor" (Luke 10:25-37; Matthew 22:39-40) in his speech above.  They don't make films like that anymore.

We are grateful for our political freedom, but the left wing philosophy, socialism, anti-capitalism, the homosexual agenda, the pro-abortionists, so called "same sex marriage", the spread of Islam and those seeking to promote Sharia law and Jihad, Islamic terrorism; immorality; etc. - these things are slowly eroding our great country and political freedom.

False doctrines in the churches, the word of faith movement, greed, celebrity, pragmatism, liberal theology, the emerging church, lack of true love that motivates missions and evangelism, these things have made Evangelicalism loose it's salt. (Matthew 5:13-16)

Biblical morality and ethics thrived when there was a basic Christian cultural worldview, but morality and clean living doesn't save people.  (Ephesians 2:8-9; Galatians 2:16; 2:21; Romans 3:28; 4:1-8; 4:16; 5:1; 10:9-10; John 1:12)  We need the grace of God for that.  Hopefully, the Lord will expose the culture rot and cause more people to seek Him and cry out for grace and salvation.

That we lost our ability to choose good over evil by the wrong use of our free will  - See the article before this one on the issue of our free will and freedom and how that relates to grace and faith by Augustine.

137 comments:

James Swan said...

I actually watched this earlier today.

I had never seen any footage of Billy before. I was provoked to do by researching Reformed Dutch reactions to him at the time he was popular.

Like all things Dutch, they fought about it.

steelikat said...

"Biblical morality and ethics thrived when there was a basic Christian cultural worldview, but morality and clean living doesn't save people."

Thanks for the reminder. Of course I know that but sometimes still I unthinkingly confuse cause and effect when I'm thinking about the culture rot in our country.

natamllc said...

"... after the cookout and fireworks show."

That would be nice if the kids were home and the show wasn't after dark which where I live it after 10 p.m.! It's a half hour show and another twenty minute ride to get home. Normally it takes only 5 minutes drive to get home but when you have 20,000 people gathering by the bay on a small patch of land; and let's divide each carload to four passengers per car, 5,000 cars parked everywhere things don't roll as quickly as normal!

No thanks, I think I will watch the flick later on, maybe today? But, as for the kids, well, they ain't kids anymore and probably would not want to sit down and watch the flick unless I bribed them with a lot more money than they currently possess! :)

Ken said...

James,
That was very interesting to see film of Billy Sunday. The references to a "whiskey soaked" culture and "moonshiners" shows the social / political context of prohibition of alcohol in 1929.

Boy, he would really be shocked to see how far we have come today - sexual immorality, pornography, "Sabbath breakers" ( Malls are now open on Sunday mornings), etc.

As for the Dutch-Reformed culture -
What happened to Holland after the time that Abraham Kyper was prime minister?

On another issue, have you ever noticed this debate over this supposed quote by Luther?

http://www.dennyburk.com/the-apocryphal-martin-luther/

Ken said...

natamallc,
Yeah, I hear you!
The older I get, the more I don't like the crowds and traffic for the 15 minute fire works show.

Fortunately, we were able to find a spot where we could see one good and not be in the bad traffic in our area.

The film leaves with you with a good feeling that justice and goodness and truth will win out in the end; which is the story of the Bible - Revelation 20-22.

In the meantime, we are still in the fight against evil - Ephesians 6:10-20; Revelation 12:11

James Swan said...

On another issue, have you ever noticed this debate over this supposed quote by Luther?
http://www.dennyburk.com/the-apocryphal-martin-luther/


I did mention this once a few years ago:

http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2010/10/even-good-luther-quotes-can-be-bogus.html

But, thanks for thinking of me, I love tracking down stuff like this.

Christopher Lake said...

I love "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." It is quite a "Biblically-informed" film-- but then, that should not be a surprise, given that the director of the film is Frank Capra, a believing, practicing Catholic.

It's interesting to me, how often anti-Catholic Protestants enjoy our Christian-themed, Biblically-informed art-- while, at the same time, denying that we (Catholics) are even Christians....

Ken said...

Yes, I know Frank Capra, the director of some really good films, was Roman Catholic.

It's A Wonderful Life is also a favorite of mine. (and "You Can't Take it with you" and "Mr. Deeds goes to Town" and "Meet John Doe")

It just shows that we agree with moral and basic ethics and cultural ideas of goodness. ( I like other Roman Catholics - Hannity, O'Reilly, Laura Ingrahm, as cultural conservative pundits and also I appreciate Scalia and Alito and Thomas on the Supreme Court. I like Roberts too, but disappointed in his recent decision.

There is an implication in Wonderful Life that people get to heaven by good works, and that is wrong; but we like films that are clean and moral.

Ken said...

James,
I should have known that you had already felt with that Luther quote.

Amazing research on him and his words.

Ken said...

oops

I meant dealt

Ken said...

I don't agree with calling us "anti-Catholic".

We believe the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church - those that separate Protestants from RCC are false doctrines and when Trent anathematized Sola Fide, it cut the heart out of the gospel and became a false church.

Dozie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RPV said...

The P&R are catholic. The Roman church is not. That is why they are called "Roman Catholic". It's their own private take/brand. They are welcome to their own definition. But that doesn't mean everybody else buys into it and we are free to characterize that brand for what it is: Roman as opposed to genuine universality.

And playing the hurt card doesn't trump the argument nor does one's sincerity guarantee their infallibility on the question.

Christopher Lake said...

Dozie, how is my comment offensive? It is a simple statement of fact. I am Catholic, and I was simply making an observation about how *some* Protestants laud Biblically-informed art made by Catholics, while, at the same time, denying that we are Christians. Of course, their denial doesn't affect whether we are Christians or not. However, some of them do deny that we are, and that is the sad reality.

Christopher Lake said...

Ken, I used to be a "Reformed Baptist," and I know the anti-Catholicism in those circles well. I once subscribed to it myself. I am very familiar with the position that the Catholic Church "anathematized the Gospel" at the Council of Trent. However, St. James anathematized the idea of "justification by faith alone" long before Trent. Of course, I know that there is a popular Protestant interpretation which states that James is not referring to one's justification before God, but rather, to the evidence (via good works) that one already has been permanently, irrevocably justified by God. However, this interpretation does violence to the text itself (James 2:14-24). Such a reading works only if one *imposes* the Protestant idea of justification by faith alone *onto* the text, rather than finding it *in* the text.

Obviously, St. Paul does write of being justified by faith apart from "works of the law," but in the context of those passages, he is referring to ceremonial works of the Mosaic law, such as circumcision, not any and all works, period. This is clear from reading James 2 and from the many words of Jesus in the Gospels about the role of one's works in one's final, eternal destiny.

Christopher Lake said...

RPV, as I wrote above to Ken, I used to be a committed Calvinist Protestant, a "Reformed Baptist," and I remember well how I thought, in those years, that the "Roman church" was anything but truly "catholic." Here is my friendly challenge to you. Read carefully the words of the Nicene Creed (circa 325 A.D.), especially concerning "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church," and then seriously look into the writings of the Early Church Fathers, from the time of the Council of Nicea, and from the two previous centuries. When I did so, as a Protestant, I was shocked to find that the early Fathers' (1st-5th centuries A.D.) understanding of "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic" is that of the Catholic Church, not that of any form of Protestantism, whether from the 1500s or the present day. This is a start: http://www.churchfathers.org/category/the-church-and-the-papacy/apostolic-succession/

Ken said...

James 2:14-26

true faith is not just intellectual assent that there is one God - James 2:19

James quotes Genesis 15:6 after alluding to Genesis 22- since Genesis 22 comes after Genesis 15, and Gal. 3 and Romans 4 make it clear that Abraham was justified before circumcision (Gen. 17) and good works, this interpretation takes the background and quoting and alluding that James is making to the OT more seriously.

James says "what good is it if a person says he has faith, but not good works?"

James is concerned with possession of true faith, not just profession of faith.

Lots of people claim and say and talk - but a true believer is one who has been changed and brings forth fruit. (2 Cor. 5:17)

Anyway, you probably already knew that . . .

natamllc said...

Christopher,

interesting that you were once a Reformed Baptist and now you are a Roman Catholic, adhering to their religious practices as the way to receiving a full pardon and the outcome of forgiveness your salvation, the gift of Eternal Life?

That strikes me odd.

Nevertheless, I would wade into these muddy waters:

"Obviously, St. Paul does write of being justified by faith apart from "works of the law," but in the context of those passages, he is referring to ceremonial works of the Mosaic law, such as circumcision, not any and all works, period. This is clear from reading James 2 and from the many words of Jesus in the Gospels about the role of one's works in one's final, eternal destiny."

That may be true. What I think you fail to comprehend is what James, a Jew like Paul, a brother of Jesus (a strict Jew according to all the Law) James probably got ribbed a time or two by big brother Jesus about duty and sacrifice and service to God obeying all the laws, if you know what I mean? Brothers tend to do that while growing up in a household like those boys??

Anyway, what is James talking about?

What are you talking about?

Here's my spin.

First let me lay out some verses for you so you know from what presupposition I am coming from having been a Roman Catholic and now a Reformed brother to explain what James means (James 2:14-24).

Because of size I will break now and post more:::>

natamllc said...

Christopher, continuing on:::>

Lets consider this from these passages of Scripture from Deuteronomy:

Deu 15:7 "If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother,
Deu 15:8 but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be.
Deu 15:9 Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, 'The seventh year, the year of release is near,' and your eye look grudgingly on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the LORD against you, and you be guilty of sin.
Deu 15:10 You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake.
Deu 15:11 For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, 'You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.'


And let's consider this same sort of civil thinking towards the brethren as the Apostle Paul exhorts the Ephesian elders to think and practice, too, here:

Act 20:33 I coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel.
Act 20:34 You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me.
Act 20:35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"


Ok?

So what is James saying? Is he saying, as the RCC practice, that you have to "do" something to secure justification more than believing? No, that's not at all what James is saying.

James is being a Christian humanitarian exhorting Christians that "now" that you are a member of the Body of Christ, His Holy Catholic Church, in your civilian sphere, your heart needs to generously open towards your brethren in need in the civil realm. A strong man of Faith is a man whose worries are over with with regard to daily needs. There is a power at work in them that causes them to face all trials and temptations squarely and confident in the Power of God to save them out of them all. Not all Christians are that strong.

Now not everyone has this fruit producing Faith producing such humanity. In fact, as we read in other passages some men are so weak in Faith they easily become idolaters after conversion because of where you go to dinner! They see you go into that Thai Restaurant downtown and eat and they just happened to be a foreign exchange student from Thailand and their parents own and operate one of the finest Thai Restaurants in all of Thailand and are practicing Buddhists. This new convert now struggles seeing you, a strong Christian going into that restaurant and it evokes bad memories for them and they struggle knowing that all food is offered to the great Buddha before served to the customer.

You later on come to meet this Thai and find out his weakness and decide you will never again go into a Thai Restaurant because it causes weak brethren from Thailand to stumble.

Where I want to go to is even more grave than that. I will post this first and after I get a response from you I might go farther into these things?

Ken said...

Christopher Lake,
It would be interesting to know what Reformed Baptist church you were a member of and for how long.

Ken said...

Christopher -
Regarding the early church fathers -

I had seen your name before at another blog - but I did not read those blog articles at the time. So, now, I went back and found them, and I see that you already had a discussion/debate in several articles in the combox with Rhology and Steve and Turretinfan and David King.

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2011/07/christopher-and-church-fathers.html

I just skimmed it; and noticed the names, etc. - but not had time to read it all. And that it was a reply to your interaction at several earlier posts there at Triablogue.

Of what I have read on the early church fathers - they were not Roman Catholic. Just because they use the word "kat-holic" (according to the whole) and eucharisto, does not mean they were Roman Catholic. Modern Rome has been reading their own ideas and dogmas back into history; and Newman did the same thing.

I have read King and Webster's three volume set and other books, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Athanasius, some Augustine, Turretinfan’s website relevant to ECF and Dr. White’s articles and books and debates; and I don't see how anyone can be convinced that the early church was Roman Catholic. catholic, yes; but Roman Catholic, no. Cyprian and 85 other bishops who rebuked bishop of Rome Stephen around 256 AD that “no one has the right to call himself bishop of bishops” convinces me that the RC papal doctrines and dogmas are not historical at all, much less not biblical at all. (Peter calls himself “fellow-elder” in 1 Peter 5:1; and he exhorts his audience to his writings in 2 Peter 3:1 and 1:12-21, rather than any successor. If there was such a thing as a successor to Peter (or pope or bishop of Rome) who would have all the charism for wisdom for the right interpretation and deposit within himself, he would have mentioned it there in his letter where he basically says, “I am about to die; so I write this in order to be diligent to stir up your sincere minds so as to remind yourself in the truth.” (2 Peter 1:12-21 with 3:1)

One of my best friends (one of my groomsmen in my wedding in 1988) was Rod Bennett, author of "Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words" (Ignatius, 2002) (chapters on Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus) - he became RC in 1996. We debated off and on, face to face from 1996-2004 – several lunches, 5 hour discussions over several evenings, 2 hour discussions, emails, phone calls over that 8 year span. Later, Rod admitted to me that he should write his chapter on Clement over again after I pointed out that bishops and elders are interchangeable there.

He also didn’t like it when I pointed out the skewed way he quoted Irenaeus and left out the content of the rule of faith in Irenaeus – when Irenaeus tells us what the preaching or “rule of faith” or “tradition” is – it is all a basic Trinitarian, Nicean-apostles creed type of statement affirming God as creator and father against the Gnostics and Christ as Son of God, etc. There is nothing in Irenaeus or Tertullian or Origen or Athanasius when they specifically say what the rule of faith is, that mentions any Roman Catholic teaching or dogma that is not already affirmed by Protestant Christianity, which is why we are "catholic" - the rule of faith was based on Matthew 28:19 and expanded as the basic doctrines one must hold to in order to be baptized.

Rod in 2004 told me he didn't want to debate anymore - he is the one who gave up - and admitted that he felt weak and that he needed a living voice, and infallible interpreter that could walk into the room and tell him which interpretation to believe. He pointed me to some Roman Catholic blogs that love to debate and I have also done lots of that since around 2004 and maybe earlier.

Christopher Lake said...

Ken and nattmllc,

As far as I can tell, you are both simply (re)stating the Calvinist view of works as "evidence" or "fruit" of justifying faith (regarding James 2:14-24)-- a view which I mentioned above that I held to myself as a Reformed Baptist. I held to this view so strongly, and believed so deeply that "consistent Catholics" were lost and in need of the "true, Biblical (Reformed) Gospel," that I passionately tried to evangelize Catholics out of Catholicism and into the broadly Reformed view of the Gospel.

Therefore, and I mean this with truly the utmost respect, neither of you is really telling me anything exegetically about James 2, at this point, that I don't already know-- *as* what many (most?) Reformed Christians believe that James is saying, that is. I've been there, brothers (I know that you can't consider me a brother but I digress)! I held to and defended the 5 Solas fervently. (Mark Dever taught me well at Capitol Hill Baptist Church!)

Now, you probably can't believe that I've truly "been there," in the sense that I once truly, savingly trusted in Christ and held to justification by faith alone, given that I have now seemingly "apostatized" and left for what you think is "salvation by works," but I assure you (no pun intended!) that I was a very happy Calvinist Christian! So much so, that when a geographical move necessitated my leaving CHBC (which caused me genuine sadness), and I became a member of a similarly Calvinistic church in another state, I enthusiastically encouraged the main preaching elder in that church to be as open and explicit about his "Biblical, Reformed theology," in his preaching (only because I believed it to *be* "Biblical," of course), as Mark Dever was/is in his preaching! All of which is only to say, I know the broadly Reformed/Calvinistic view of justification, and at least to an extent, I know how the various relevant passages tend to be exegeted (or eisegeted, as the case may be) by Reformed Baptists and conservative Presbyterians. The bookstall at CHBC was well-stocked with "sound, Biblical" books (from the Puritans to Ted Tripp), and I loved them (not more than I loved Christ Himself, to be sure, but because, at the time, I thought that the basic theology of those books best reflected Christ's teaching in the Gospels).

Christopher Lake said...

Ken,

I'm familiar with Rod Bennnett; I have his book, and he's actually a "Facebook friend" of mine. "Four Witnesses" was helpful for me when I was looking into early Church history-- but I certainly didn't, and don't, take the book to be perfect and/or the last word on the subject of the Early Church Fathers, given that it only deals, mainly, with four of them.

For months before I left my last Calvinistic church, I met with one of the elders therein, a trained, certified "Biblical Counselor" who had actually been working with me on my becoming trained to work in that particular field as well. When I began to have serious questions about Reformed theology, and about the early Church, he committed to meeting with me to pray, study, and talk through any questions that I had. I am still thankful to him for this fact, even though he, now, can no longer consider me a brother in Christ.

Together, he and I studied the Bible, the Church Fathers, Catholic and Protestant apologetics, and so on. I truly wanted to remain Protestant-- partially because I had believed for so long, and so firmly, that "justification by faith alone in Christ alone" was the Gospel, and that anything else was damnable, that the prospect of even *possibly* coming to believe something else was utterly terrifying. However, in the end, I had to follow where the evidence led me, and that was to the Catholic Church. I am still not sure how my old friend (the aforementioned elder) was able to read the early Church Fathers, along with me, and not see the Catholic Church's theology and ecclesiology witnessed to therein-- but that is not my province to finally understand. God knows the answer; I do not and don't want to speculate.

For just a bit (i.e. there is much more elsewhere) on apostolic succession and the Papacy in the early Church, see here: http://www.churchfathers.org/category/the-church-and-the-papacy/apostolic-succession/

Ken said...

Christopher,
Can you see that James quotes Genesis 15:6 (James 2:23)to make his point, but after he alluded to Genesis 22 (James 2:21-22) and the sacrifice of Isaac?

Genesis 15:6 (justification) comes before Genesis 17 (circumcision - Paul's point in Romans 4) and Genesis 22 (good works - James' point).

So, James' point is that good works vindicate or confirm or prove that a person already has true faith.

James uses it (δικαιοω) in the same sense that it is used on Luke 7:35 and Matthew 11:19 - "wisdom is vindicated/proved right/justified by her children/deeds".

So, you probably already know that interpretation of James 2 and "you've been there, done that".

were you a member of Capital Hill Baptist Church?

ok, so you left and then got convinced about the early church fathers and Newman's Development of Doctrine theory and started doubting that Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide were Biblical.

I guess I don't understand your point.

I also have debated (informally and in personal friendship - Rod Bennett) Roman Catholics for years.

Ken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ken said...

I deleted my next to previous post because there was a confusing phrase/typo in it.

The last one is the same without the confusing phrase.

Christopher Lake said...

Dozie,

Again, I am only presenting statements of fact about what *some* Protestants believe about us as Catholics. I am *not* saying that these particular Protestants are correct in what they believe about us-- and again, once more, just to make it absolutely clear, I affirm that their beliefs about us do not have *any* bearing on our objective standing with God as Christians.

I'm surprised, honestly, that you came to this blog and actually took the time to say that you found my particular comment offensive, when there are a great many *truly* offensive statements (offensive to Catholics) to be found about the Catholic Church and Catholic teaching here and elsewhere online...!

Why engage in interlocution with a fellow believing, practicing Catholic on a Protestant blog, when there are so many distortions about Catholicism from *non-Catholics* for you to engage?

Ken said...

Rod got upset with me when I went to his blog "Tremendous Trifles" (no longer on line) and tried to engage him in argumentation about Roman Catholic issues. He asked me to stop bothering him and stop bringing up issues.

So, we don't have much interaction anymore, since he is the one who doesn't want to debate anymore.

And he would probably not like it if I searched him out on Facebook and tried to bring up RC and Bible issues again. We did that for 8 + years, so I leave him in peace now and pray for him.

After agreeing to stop debating, we have had a few lunches and watched a Science Fiction movie together, but it was on his condition that we could only talk about other things that we like - like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Capra Movies, and not debate anymore about RC and Bible and church history issues.

Since that time, he has moved away from the Atlanta area; but, as you can imagine, our different church settings have caused us to naturally not be in each other's life anymore.

I wish him well, and pray for him.

Ken said...

Christopher,
I agree with your comments to Dozie; they do seem weird and illogical.

Christopher Lake said...

Ken,

You state above that you "don't see my point"-- seemingly, my point about giving you some of my theological/ecclesiological history. You were the one who asked though. I only even mentioned CHBC because you expressed curiosity about what church(es) I had been a member of as a Calvinist Protestant. Yes, I was a member there, a very enthusiastic one. It is not the case, as you stated, that I simply "left (CHBC) and then got convinced about the early church fathers and Newman's Development of Doctrine theory and started doubting that Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide were Biblical." It was not that quick or simple at all. For one thing, as I mentioned above, I left CHBC only because of a geographical move, and I then became a member of a similarly Calvinistic church, where I continued to passionately hold to the "Reformed, Biblical Gospel." I was the last person at that church that anyone would have thought would have come to different views, especially insofar as Catholicism. I did eventually come to different views, obviously, but it was not a quick and simple trajectory.

Regarding your assertion about Cyprian and the 85 other bishops, I will do research on that. I don't simply accept anyone's assertion, regarding these matters, at face value, whether the person is Protestant, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or something else. I think you will agree on that principle. I will look into the issue.

I am curious as to how you would explain, as a Protestant, the passages from the early Fathers on apostolic succession here (and again, there is much more elsewhere): http://www.churchfathers.org/category/the-church-and-the-papacy/apostolic-succession/

It's interesting to me that you consider the case for the Catholic Church to be "just really really wanting, weak, and unbiblical, and unhistorical," when so many committed Protestants over the centuries have found that case to be just the opposite-- often reluctantly, and at great earthly cost to themselves. That was my own experience too.

Ken said...

William Webster, in 4 or more articles about the Papacy and early church fathers, including Cyprian - demonstrated for me long ago that the Roman Catholic position is wrong and unhistorical.

http://www.christiantruth.com/articles_roman_catholicism.php

They are long, and it is a lot of material, so it is too much now for com boxes - I already worked through it all years ago.

2. Ok, so you went to another Reformed Baptist Church and were still passionate about Reformation theology for a while. What started your doubts?

3. As for apostolic succession, Jason Engwer and John Bugay have dozens, maybe over 100 articles that touch on that issue; most of which I have read over the years.

I am not convinced that the early church saw the elders/bishops/pastors as having infallible authority to carry on the tradition/deposit/rule of faith - to "bring it out" or to interpret infallibly.

Irenaeus is basically using the other bishops/ elders in the churches as proof against the Gnostics - and he is saying - look at all other "catholic" churches - we all believe in the OT and God as creator/Almighty/Father/Good, etc. - and that has always been the tradition of the true church against the Gnostics - since Protestants agree with that, and Irenaeus does NOT make other RC doctrines (the issues that Protestants disagree with RC on) part of his rule of faith, then that apologetic point that RCs try to make is moot and unconvincing with me.

Ken said...

Here is an article that I wrote a while back on apostolic succession.

http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2009/11/what-is-more-important-than-who.html

If you look under the label, "apostolic succession" - there are other articles; along with Jason Engwer over at Triablogue and John Bugay's articles both here at Beggar's All and over at Triablogue. John even had a new one on apostolic succession today, which I am going to go read now.

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Interesting discussion...

In your last comment, you wrote:

==3. As for apostolic succession, Jason Engwer and John Bugay have dozens, maybe over 100 articles that touch on that issue; most of which I have read over the years.

I am not convinced that the early church saw the elders/bishops/pastors as having infallible authority to carry on the tradition/deposit/rule of faith - to "bring it out" or to interpret infallibly.

Irenaeus is basically using the other bishops/ elders in the churches as proof against the Gnostics - and he is saying - look at all other "catholic" churches - we all believe in the OT and God as creator/Almighty/Father/Good, etc. - and that has always been the tradition of the true church against the Gnostics - since Protestants agree with that, and Irenaeus does NOT make other RC doctrines (the issues that Protestants disagree with RC on) part of his rule of faith, then that apologetic point that RCs try to make is moot and unconvincing with me.==

Me: First, could you provide a concise description of what YOU mean by "apostolic succession"?

IMO Jason's contributions on this issue were much stronger than John's, but both have two inherent weaknesses: 1.) neither provides anything close to a coherent and cohesive theory of doctrinal development, which is extremely important when approaching historical theology; 2.) both rely way too much on liberal scholarship to support their polemics.

Second, you seem to be arguing for the necessity of finding fully developed RCC doctrines in the early CFs, which, of course, ignores the FACT that pretty much all doctrine develops. We have been over this many times before, but you have yet to offer a sound alternative to Newman's basic theory of development.

Third, you need to be careful when delineating "the issues that Protestants disagree with RC on", for considerable diversity exists among the Protestants on a number of important doctrines (e.g. baptism, the Eucharist, ecclesi0logy, justification, et al.).


Grace and peace,

David

Ken said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Christopher Lake said...

Ken,

There were many factors in my beginning doubts about what I had been taught as a Reformed Baptist. For all of my time at CHBC, and most of my time at the subsequent Calvinistic church, I had no doubts about Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide at all. I was convinced out of SS and SF with reluctance (to say the least) on my part, having been a very committed Protestant.

For quite a while, the doubts were not about Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide at all, but rather, about aspects of TULIP, from studying Scripture itself. Even so, I did not easily or quickly relinquish my conviction that TULIP was Biblically true, as certain of the five points did still seem to be the "clear reading of Scripture."

As I studied the Bible more and more carefully and intently though, I was less convinced that the five points (especially "Limited Atonement" and "Perseverance of the Saints") actually did reflect Scriptural teaching. The Calvinist exegesis of many, many passages began to seem much more like eisegesis in support of a theological framework.

It did not help that none of the early Church Fathers (1st-5th centuries A.D.) whom I read seemed to interpret Scripture in a way that resembled TULIP at all (notwithstanding Protestant quotations of the Fathers, which I found to not always be in the context of their wider thinking).

*Not* that I took the early Church Fathers to be on the same level as Scripture itself-- not at all, as I still held to Sola Scriptura!-- but when I was a five-point Calvinist Reformed Baptist, and I could find seemingly no one from the first five centuries of the Church Fathers (beginning with Polycarp and others, onward) whose theology and ecclesiology resembled that of Reformed Baptists, it did lead to some questions in my mind.

However, again, these questions did not cause me to easily, quickly reject Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide. Eventually, they did go, and they went painfully for me, but they had to go, as I became convinced that they were not the teaching of the New Testament and not apostolic, "pre-codified-NT" teaching.

James Swan said...

If possible, try not to feed the Dozie-troll. Dozie posts get deleted anyway, so save your time for something else.

Christopher Lake said...

Ken,

It's not that I didn't want to struggle with understanding Scripture anymore. It's not that I had any desire to have other people think for me. That is not why I left Protestantism. If these are the kinds of (mis)characterizations of Catholic conversions which Rod Bennett had to listen to in his dialogues with you for years, then respectfully, I can understand why he ended the conversation(s).

I will look up and read the sources which you have provided for me here. For now though, especially given that I have spent hours today on these exchanges with you and with others here at the blog (I have Cerebral Palsy and am not able to type quickly at all), I do need to go.

Thank you, sincerely, for the conversation. I wish you well and will pray for you.

Ken said...

David Waltz wrote:
Me: First, could you provide a concise description of what YOU mean by "apostolic succession"?

I am using it in arguing against it in the sense that the RC claim makes - it seems to me that the RC claim is that the elders/bishops - the who/the person/the office as successors of Peter - they had the seeds of all future doctrine that infallibly are brought out and clarified over the centuries - some "came out" in 1215, 1302, 1545-1563; 1854; 1870; 1950, etc.

I don't think "apostolic succession" even exists in the sense that RCs argue, not in the Bible and not in history. Elders / bishops were appointed in the churches (Acts 14:21-23; Titus 1:5; cf. 1 Peter 5:1-5; Acts 20:17, 20:28, etc.) - that is called missionary church planting and local church authority. The leaders could get things wrong and go wrong later, and they did. They got some things wrong, some things right. They are not infallible; only God and His written word is infallible.


IMO Jason's contributions on this issue were much stronger than John's, but both have two inherent weaknesses: 1.) neither provides anything close to a coherent and cohesive theory of doctrinal development, which is extremely important when approaching historical theology;

As far as I have seen and read over the years; they are cogent and convincing to me. I don't think it is necessary for them to have to write some tome on a theory of historical development. Hasn't another Protestant already done that?

2.) both rely way too much on liberal scholarship to support their polemics.

I participated in some of the Lampe issue with you on that, and I only remember at this point that you never answered my points to my satisfaction on that.

Second, you seem to be arguing for the necessity of finding fully developed RCC doctrines in the early CFs, which, of course, ignores the FACT that pretty much all doctrine develops.

We have been over this many times before, but you have yet to offer a sound alternative to Newman's basic theory of development.

Why do I have to do that? You seem to be demanding that I have to write a book on that.

Has anyone already done that from a Reformed/Protestant/Evangelical view?


Third, you need to be careful when delineating "the issues that Protestants disagree with RC on", for considerable diversity exists among the Protestants on a number of important doctrines (e.g. baptism, the Eucharist, ecclesi0logy, justification, et al.).

True, but the differences on baptism and the Eucharist and ecclesiology are not primary issues in the senses that Protestants differ among themselves.

I am convinced of the Baptist view of baptism, the memorial and spiritual view of Eucharist (that only a believer communes with the spiritual presence of Christ after examining oneself and confession of sin and reconciliation of relationships in the body and with renewed faith/ trust in the once for all death of Christ. Church/ecclesiology - Elders and autonomous local church.

As regarding justification, I suppose you are referring to the New Perspectives on Paul, etc. - Sanders, Dunn, N. T. Wright, Auburn Avenue controversy, etc. I disagree with them; but I confess I still need to read Seifrid, O'brien, and Carson's 2 volume "Justification and Variegated Nomism".

Ken said...

thanks for the discussion, Christopher - I am genuinely moved that you have Cerebral Palsy and that hinders physical movement such as typing - I will pray for you at least one time sincerely after I type this post. I appreciate the time you took to interact and I wish you peace in Christ. (Romans 5:1; John 14:27)

Perseverance of the Saints is a strong doctrine in my opinion, given that God takes those whom He predestines all the way to glorification in Romans 8:28-30.

Limited Atonement is convincing once all the other points are clearly understood. But I understand why people struggle with it, or at least just the terminology. I prefer "Particular Atonement" or "Definite Atonement".

Spurgeon's famous quote on who really limits the atonement is powerful to me.

John Piper has some great sermons on Particular Atonement. See at www.desiringGod.org - especially his sermon on Hebrews 2:9 -

http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/for-whom-did-jesus-taste-death

Ken said...

Christopher Lake wrote:
It's not that I didn't want to struggle with understanding Scripture anymore. It's not that I had any desire to have other people think for me. That is not why I left Protestantism. If these are the kinds of (mis)characterizations of Catholic conversions which Rod Bennett had to listen to in his dialogues with you for years, then respectfully, I can understand why he ended the conversation(s).

That may not be how you see it in your experience; fine.

But -

That is exactly what Rod Bennett himself told me in person!

He said that he was weak in himself and he couldn't figure out the right interpretations and he wanted the "living voice"/ umpire to do it for him so he wouldn't have to struggle anymore. Others never admit that, but that does seem to be the underlying bottom line after the unity argument (RC use of John 17) and "going deep in history"/Newman argument.

He kept quoting Proverbs 3:5-6 to me - "lean not on your own understanding" and he kept saying "says who?" - who is your authority for your interpretation as if the Pope is something great, etc.

natamllc said...

David,

here we go again!

Why the need for apostolic succession seeing the premise of the Gospel is Christ crucified, buried and raised again to the Right Hand of the Father and from there He will bring all rule, power and authority into subjection to the Kingdom Power and Glory by destroying them?

Apostolic authority negates Christ right now functioning right now as both King and High Priest of a better Life and Covenant built upon better promises, eternal promises not succession which implies the ending of one and the ascending of another in their sted!

natamllc said...

Christopher,

I respect your decision. It seems you have a fairly strong grip on your religious position now that you have left the Reformed Faith?

I want to go farther into the line of reason I opened with above?

Are you open for that?

I would fully understand a negative decision.

That being said and before I leave off this comment, I would note for the record where I intend on going if you want to go farther down the road I propose going down?

I would look carefully at 1 Thessalonians 5 and 2 Thesalonians 1 and then to the book of the Revelation chapter 18 to expand what I believe James is exhorting from chapter 2.

David Waltz said...

Hello again Ken,

Thanks for responding. I am going to respond to one issue at a time, beginning with apostolic succession.

It is not just "RCs" who argue for apostolic succession (AS). You seem to have ignored one of the fundamental components of AS, that of Apostolic ordination, and it's historical application (Biblical, Ignatius, Irenaeus, Cyprian, et al.) I like the following from an Anglican blogger:

>>...following Ephesians, Ramsey traces the place and function of the apostles in the New Testament where most clearly they are understood as the foundational authorities of the Church. He sees that St. Paul “has an office of ruling and integrating” and the apostles were “a ministry, restricted in numbers and of definite authority, not attached to local churches but controlling local churches on behalf of the general church.” This “rootless” authority is an embodiment of the concrete unity given to the Church in the passionate flesh of Jesus, who himself gathered and commissioned the apostles. They represent to congregations all the other congregations and act for and over all of them; thus by virtue of their office they enact the unity given in the Spirit and the Passion.
The question he then asks is this: Does the “more developed” episcopal theory of St. Ignatius fall in line with this?
“The [episcopal] ministry is important as linking the Christians with the historic events of Jesus Christ, since Christian experience is not a spirituality unrelated to history, but bears witness to its derivation from Jesus in the flesh…Thus the Church is one Body; its members glorify not themselves and their experiences, but the one historic Christ. And its worship is one; the Eucharist is not the act of any local group, but of the one Body, represented by its organ of unity in any place. Hence the Eucharist is to be celebrated only by the bishop [and those authorized by the bishop].”
His answer is yes, the bishop “succeeds” the apostles in function; the primary difference is now that the bishop is local, but as Florovsky says in Sobornost, “in its Bishop every single church transcends its own limits and comes into contact with and merges into other churches, not in the order of brotherly love and remembrance alone, but in the unity of mysterious and gracious life.” So even this “localism” only has significance via the one Gospel, the one life of the Spirit, and so is also universal, a token of the unity that does not depend on the episcopacy but is expressed through it.

So Ramsey can go so far as to say that “the Episcopate is of the esse of the universal Church,” but only inasmuch as it expresses the unity of that one life given first in the flesh of Jesus and then in the Spirit through baptism – It does not constitute the Church. He would no doubt agree with Bulgakov, “First Church, then hierarchy.”>>

So from the Biblical teaching of Apostolic ordination and episcopal succession, with have the 'seed' from which AS develops (as seen in the writings of Ignatius, Irenaeus, Cyprian, et al. - no 'Baptist' ecclesiology in sight [wink]).


Grace and peace,

David

Ken said...

John Bugay's article today on apostolic succession and Irenaeus is excellent.

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2012/07/irenaeus-confirms-michael-kruger-on.html

Ken said...

Apostolic ordination

David,
Do you mean that the apostles appointed and ordained elders?

Yes, I believe that, as I already noted - Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5

But they were a college of elders - presbuterois

I Clement and Didache, the earliest of the other non-canonical writings, keep that structure of 2 offices in the NT church. (elders/overseers/pastors are one and the same office; with 2nd office is deacons)


one of the first mistakes of the early church, that we have evidence of, is how Ignatius exalted the episcopas - one of the college of elders, out from and exalted him as bishop over and above the college of elders.

That was wrong and unbiblical. the elders were to do the work of pastoring and leading/overseeing/administrating - the meaning of "overseeing"/watch over, etc.

So, once that took hold, they drifted down into bad practice and bad doctrine in many areas.

But besides that area in Ignatius, (the issue of one bishop over the college of elders) - Ignatius is good on most everything else - Deity of Christ, arguments against Docetists, Gnostics, etc.

Henry VIII is a shameful historical reality; Anglicans don't impress me much, except for the older ones like Salmon, Goode, Whitaker, and William Temple and modern ones like John R. W. Stott and J. I. Packer and the conservatives standing against the homosexual agenda in the apostate Episcopal church and Rowan Williams doesn't impress me much either.

Ken said...

So from the Biblical teaching of Apostolic ordination and episcopal succession, with have the 'seed' from which AS develops (as seen in the writings of Ignatius, Irenaeus, Cyprian, et al. - no 'Baptist' ecclesiology in sight [wink]).


But it is there in Titus 1:5-7ff; Acts 14:23; 1 Peter 5:1-5; Acts 20:17, 28; I Timothy 3;

and

Clement

and

Didache

So, we are "deeper in history" than Newman and the Anglicans, per your quote.

It was Ignatius who wrongly exalted one of the presbuterois out and called him "the bishop" over the elders. Originally, the elders and bishops are the same office.

Ken said...

other old Anglicans that impressed me -

Cranmer after he recanted and was burnt by bloody Mary

Ridley and Latimer

There are others, I am sure, but I wanted to mention those as good guys.

steelikat said...

Ken, et al.

Great discussion! Perhaps you may feel you've "been there before" but I think it's worthwhile for you to take the time to do this.

I am also a Capra fan and "It's a Wonderful Life" is simply my favorite film of all time. It's also (because of its plot which unsophisticated and careless critics interpret as sentimental and "Capracorny") an under-rated and under-appreciated groundbreaking film in the history of Motion Pictures as an artform, much as "Wings" and "Citizen Kane" were.

RPV said...

Christopher,
If the Roman church is the "one holy catholic and apostolic church" according to the Nicean Creed, where do the apostles teach the sacrifice of the mass, the infallibility of the vicar of Christ,i.e the pope and justification by faith and works?

PS. Your argument from James is poor regarding the last, but whatever.
You still have your hands full even if we grant you the last.

Ken said...

Thanks for that comment Steelikat - it is good to know that this is benefitting others who read all this.

I was tempted early on to say, "already debated all that", but your encouragement shows the need to flesh it out sometimes again, at least in a general way.

Pete Holter said...

Ken wrote: “I cannot understand how you could be convinced of any of those arguments, especially the issue of the papacy - given what Peter says in 2 Peter (above) and what Cyprian and 85 other Bishops said to Stephen, the arrogant bishop of Rome around 255-257 AD.”

Hi Ken!

When the Donatists tried to use the witness of Cyprian in support of their schism from the Catholic Church, Augustine reminded them again and again that, if you really want to follow the example of Cyprian, then you’ll have to follow him in maintaining the Spirit of unity in the bond of peace (taken from On Baptism, Against the Donatists):

“…he, with imperfect insight into the mystery, was careful to preserve charity with all courage and humility and faith…”

“… Cyprian, in urging his view of the question, was still anxious to remain in the unity of peace even with those who differed from him…”

“… I think that it may now be considered clear to every one, that the authority of the blessed Cyprian for the maintenance of the bond of peace, and the avoiding of any violation of that most wholesome charity which preserves unity in the Church, may be urged on our side…”

“… when so many agreed with him, he showed, by remaining in unity with the rest who thought differently from him, that he preserved the most sacred bond of universal catholicity, not from any fear of isolation, but from the love of peace…”

Today, with the agreement of thousands of sacramentally ordained bishops spread throughout the world, Augustine would say to us:

“Cease, then, to bring forward against us the authority of Cyprian in [opposition to the papacy], but cling with us to the example of Cyprian for the preservation of unity. For this question of [the papacy] had not been as yet completely worked out” (On Baptism, Against the Donatists, Bk. 2, Ch. 7:12).

Also, we can’t just say that only Ignatius is wrong, if indeed he is wrong, without implicating the entire Church since it evidently had bishops “settled everywhere to the utmost bounds… by the will of Jesus Christ” (Ephesians, Ch. 3). This is a HUGE implication. :)

With love in Christ,
Pete

Ken said...

Hi Pete !
I have to go get some exercise now

and then I am busy all weekend; but maybe, Lord willing, Sun. evening or Monday I will comment on what you have written.

natamllc said...

Well, Pete H.

Here's my two cents:

Rom 12:16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.
Rom 12:17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
Rom 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Rom 12:19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."
Rom 12:20 To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head."
Rom 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


On the basis of those Words alone I don't agree with you.

It is one thing to hold the unity of the Spirit in a bond of Peace. It is entirely another thing to represent Christ as a Minister of Reconciliation, as an Ambassador you might say seeing the eyes of hostility staring at you? Even though Christ is supreme in every respect, notice there is no guarantee we will not suffer for His sake in this life.

Ecumenicism might pacify the divergence but it is in no way a means of holding unity with those so divergent.

Representing Christ is at whatever cost!

After all the Apostle Paul exhorted the Saints:

2Co 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
2Co 6:15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?
2Co 6:16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
2Co 6:17 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you,
2Co 6:18 and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty."

Pete Holter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pete Holter said...

Ken, while bodily training is of some value, embracing the Catholic faith is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. :)

If I’m ever in the Atlanta area or you’re up near DC, it’d be great to get together for a workout and some mutual encouragement in the faith. Working out was a big part of my life before I became a Christian: http://bodyforlife.com/success-stories/pete-holter. That was back in 1999.

In Christ,
Pete

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

In one of your recent posts you wrote:

==Apostolic ordination

David,
Do you mean that the apostles appointed and ordained elders?

Yes, I believe that, as I already noted - Acts 14:23 ; Titus 1:5

But they were a college of elders - presbuterois

I Clement and Didache, the earliest of the other non-canonical writings, keep that structure of 2 offices in the NT church. (elders/overseers/pastors are one and the same office; with 2nd office is deacons)

one of the first mistakes of the early church, that we have evidence of, is how Ignatius exalted the episcopas - one of the college of elders, out from and exalted him as bishop over and above the college of elders.

That was wrong and unbiblical. the elders were to do the work of pastoring and leading/overseeing/administrating - the meaning of "overseeing"/watch over, etc.==


Me: We have been over this before, but it does not 'hurt' to delve into this again. In addition to a number of conservative Anglican scholars that I referenced in our past dialogues on this issue, I also included a Baptist patristic scholar who takes exception with a number of your assessments—do you remember Dr. Robert Lee Williams, and his book, Bishop Lists?

In his book, Williams argues that a careful reading of all the NT evidence concerning church leadership yields a three-fold ministry.

I don't have the time to type up copious quotes from the book; but the following is reflective of his overall thought:

"The situations in Acts 20 and Titus clarify the need for overseers and subsequently for a monoepiskopos in each city." (Page 48.)

[See THIS THREAD for info on Williams and some Anglican scholars.]


Grace and peace,

David

Christopher Lake said...

To all who have interacted with me here (in order):

Ken-- Thank you, truly, for your prayers. I will look up the resources you mentioned. I loved to read and listen to John Piper when I was a Calvinist.

RPV-- I have begun to answer your questions about where the early church teaches what "Rome" now teaches at the other thread where you and I are interacting.

natamllc: We can certainly interact more on the questions that you want to discuss, but due partially to my Cerebral Palsy, I may not always be able to reply as promptly as you (or I) would like.

I saw that in a combox on Triablogue recently, you opined that apostolic succession is a tool of the Devil designed to confuse the Elect, to the extent that such could be possible! Given your view, I don't suppose that I'll have much success with you in presenting evidence, from Scripture and Church history, for apostolic succession... Still, I'm happy to engage here with you, as I can.

Ken said...

For anyone interested, David Waltz and I already discussed/"debated" the issue of the pastoral epistles and using liberal scholarship like Peter Lampe. Using some of Lampe's evidence doesn't mean one has to agree with his other presuppositions.

http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2011/04/no-logical-necessity-of-inconsistency.html

and also, in a different context, earlier, here:

http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2010/08/getting-to-specific-issue.html

Ken said...

Pete,
You really butchered quoting 1 Timothy 4:8

7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;

8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

Later on the other stuff from Augustine and the Donatists.

By the way, have you realized that Augustine's work, "On the Unity of the church" has never been fully translated into English?

Some sections have been translated though, and they are not supportive of the Roman Catholic reading of Augustine for church authority.

Ken said...

David,
I could not find Dr. Williams at Southwestern seminary - maybe he is not there anymore - ?

David Waltz said...

Ken wrote:

==David,
I could not find Dr. Williams at Southwestern seminary - maybe he is not there anymore - ?==

It looks like he is no longer on the faculty; the book (from which I got the information) was written in 2005, so he may have moved on the 'greener pastures'.

natamllc said...

Christopher,

"...Given your view, I don't suppose that I'll have much success with you in presenting evidence, from Scripture and Church history, for apostolic succession... Still, I'm happy to engage here with you, as I can."

Two things then. One, I suppose we could take it little by little and parse out apostolic succession from the Biblical view and why and from the RCC's justification for a magisterium and papacy, all coming into play long after the Scripture was finished and canonized?

Two, I am glad you have not shut the door on me.

Can I go forth into the areas of 1 Thessalonians 5 and 2 Thessalonians 1 to explain what I believe is being missed when one makes the claim that "works" are a necessary component of one's salvation, and I mean by that, works righteousness/synergism not Christ's equitable deeds/monergism that solely saves His people from their sins?

Pete Holter said...

Ken!

Ken wrote: “…they are not supportive of the Roman Catholic reading of Augustine for church authority.”

To let you know where I’m coming from, in terms of Augustine’s writings against the Donatists, I’ve read On Baptism, Against Petilian, A Treatise Concerning the Correction of the Donatists (a.k.a., Letter 185), and Letters 23, 33, 34, 35, 43, 44, 49, 51, 53, 66, 76, 87, 88, 93, 105, 106, 107, 108, 128, 129, 134, 141, 142, 204, 208… maybe a couple of other letters, and some sermons where this controversy gets mentioned. I’ve also read Optatus’ treatise against the Donatists to help me better understand the historical context of Augustine’s writings in this dispute. I have them all saved in Word documents with my own personal highlights, so if you ever want to take a quick look through this material, we could email about it.

I was aware that On the Unity of the Church was yet to be translated, but I disagree that the sections that have been translated “are not supportive of the Roman Catholic reading of Augustine for church authority.” When I say this, I have in mind the material that Pastor King presented over on The PuritanBoard.

It’s because we don’t have the entire work in English that I’ve been reluctant to interact with the material I’ve seen presented by Pastor King. But having read Augustine’s other writings against the Donatists (only the English ones, of course), I think I can see the larger context, and I think I understand where Augustine is taking his arguments and what he’s really trying to say in each case.

For example (and let me know if you’d like my take on any of the other citations), Pastor King supplied the following quote from this treatise: “Whoever dissents from the sacred Scriptures, even if they are found in all places in which the church is designated, are not the church.”

We of course agree that one cannot dissent from the sacred Scriptures, but consider a fuller citation to gain a better picture of what Augustine is talking about here:

“The whole Christ is the head and the body. The head is the only begotten Son of God, and his body is the Church: the bridegroom and the bride, two in one flesh (cf. Ephesians 5:23, 30-31). Those who shall dissent from what the sacred Scriptures say concerning the very Head, even if they are found in all places in which the church is designated, are not in the church. And, on the other hand, those who consent to the sacred scriptures concerning the very Head, and yet do not communicate with the unity of the Church, are not in the Church, because they dissent from the testimony of Christ Himself concerning the Body of Christ, which is the Church” (On the Unity of the Church, 4:7).

This Church that Augustine is talking about is the one that (1) began in Jerusalem, (2) had spread from there throughout the world by episcopal succession through the sacrament of ordination, and (3) enjoyed the highest ecclesial authority in the Church of Rome and the other local churches holding the seats of apostles. Augustine is trying to get the Donatists to appreciate the fact that we need to be in communion with this historically-continuous, geographically-dispersed, sacramentally-constituted, and professing-faith-in-Christ Church in order to be saved. This Church was described and foretold by the Scriptures. It existed in the days of Augustine in the Catholic Church spread throughout the world; and it continues to exist in our own day in the same Catholic Church spread throughout the world to the glory of God.

I hope you’ll consider communing with us and worshipping God together with us—with me and Christopher Lake and Saint Augustine—in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. It’s such a blessing and actually fun to be Catholic. But it would be even better if you and James and TurretinFan and John Bugay and James White and all the rest would be Catholic with us!

Have a blessed weekend!

With love in Christ,
Pete

natamllc said...

Pete,

since you included the rest of us in your invitation, I respectfully decline.

I wasn't much older than 8 years old when I was able to discern the RCC was up to something that was not for me. I am glad my Dad allowed me to stop going to catechism!

As for your broad claim, it is rather foolish to assume it is fact.

Your claim:

"... (2) had spread from there throughout the world by episcopal succession through the sacrament of ordination, and (3) enjoyed the highest ecclesial authority in the Church of Rome and the other local churches holding the seats of apostles. ..."

That's just not the truth and you cannot prove it is.

The Word of God is the Truth and the Truth is the Word of God.

The Apostle Paul observed this phenomenon which does reach to "all" the world by "One" agency/Agent. He don't need yours or my help. He don't need noone's help. He sovereignly uses His vessels severally as He Wills:

Dan 12:3 And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
..........................

Act 8:1 And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.
..............................

Col 1:5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel,
Col 1:6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing--as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,
Col 1:7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf
Col 1:8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.


What you want the world to believe and what God wants the world to believe are quite different!

Christopher Lake said...

Natamllc,

I'm glad to be able to engage in dialogue with you, again, as I am able. By all means, please share whatever you wish from the Bible, so we can discuss it. I am noticing, however, that when Pete and others present historical evidence from the early Church Fathers for Catholic claims, you are disagreeing (obviously), but you are not necessarily presenting evidence to the contrary, but rather, you are quoting passages of Scripture, as though they (or, your interpretations of them) are simply self-evident to disprove the historical evidence for Catholic claims. However, the early Church Fathers were exgeting Scripture long before you, or I, or Martin Luther, or John Calvin even existed, and these early Fathers understood many Scriptures in quite different ways than you or Martin Luther or John Calvin. In that light, how are you certain that your non-Catholic understandings of Scripture are the correct, and seemingly self-evident, ones, to the degree that you simply quote them as seeming refutations of Catholic teaching?

As for your contention that the "RCC justified the need for a Magisterium and Papacy" only long after the NT canon was canonized, the historical fact is that canon was only formally, definitively codified at a Church council in 397 A.D. However, two full centuries earlier, in 189 A.D., in his classic work, "Against Heresies," St. Irenaeus was already appealing to apostolic succession and to the "church at Rome" to settle the battles against heretics in the early Church:

Irenaeus

“It is possible, then, for everyone in every church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the tradition of the apostles which has been made known to us throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the apostles and their successors down to our own times, men who neither knew nor taught anything like what these heretics rave about” (Against Heresies 3:3:1 [A.D. 189]).

“But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul—that church which has the tradition and the faith with which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. For with this Church, because of its superior origin, all churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world. And it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition” (ibid., 3:3:2).

Christopher Lake said...

*exegeting*, that is-- sorry for the typo above in the first section of my comment! Hope everyone is having a blessed Lord's Day!

Christopher Lake said...

Source for the above passages from "Against Heresies," 189 A.D., by St. Irenaeus: http://www.churchfathers.org/category/the-church-and-the-papacy/apostolic-succession/

Christopher Lake said...

Pete,

I live in the general "DC area"-- just outside of Washington, D.C., actually. I'd love to get together sometime if you'd be interested. Are you on Facebook? (I ask only because I'd rather share contact info privately if at all possible.)

Pete Holter said...

Natamllc wrote: “As for your broad claim, it is rather foolish to assume it is fact. Your claim: ‘... (2) had spread from there throughout the world by episcopal succession through the sacrament of ordination, and (3) enjoyed the highest ecclesial authority in the Church of Rome and the other local churches holding the seats of apostles. ...’ That’s just not the truth and you cannot prove it is.”

Greetings in Christ, Natamllc!

Do you have another name I could call you? Natamllc is a little cumbersome to type in each time. :)

I was actually giving Augustine’s position in those four points so that when you read “Church” in his quote you would understand what he meant. Although, it would be more accurate for me to include a fifth point in order to further distinguish between the righteous few and the many bad found within this visible communion.

Have a blessed Lord’s day!

In Christ,
Pete

natamllc said...

Christopher,

"In that light, how are you certain that your non-Catholic understandings of Scripture are the correct, and seemingly self-evident, ones, to the degree that you simply quote them as seeming refutations of Catholic teaching?

Let's be clear. I am "catholic" in the sense that I am a part of the universal Body of Christ Christ died for, was buried for and rose again for, too, as He continues building His Church around the world and in every nation on earth as well as "now" continuing the work He was given to accomplish for the common good, God His Father's and ours, His Body, the catholic/universal Church as expressed here:

1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
1Co 15:23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.
1Co 15:24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.
1Co 15:25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
1Co 15:26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
1Co 15:27 For "God has put all things in subjection under his feet." But when it says, "all things are put in subjection," it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him.
1Co 15:28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.


Seeing I claim to be apart of Christ's True Church and you claim the Roman Catholic Church is the only True Church, one of us is in for a surprise we were not expecting in light of the fact that we both believe Jesus is right now still in the process of destroying all rule, power and authority not His own and subjecting all things to the Father so that He is all in all!

What you are a part of is a far narrower concept, in my view. Let's say the "Roman" catholic group that you are claiming to be a member of has a worldwide audience of the faithful to your brand of religion. Of this group, the Roman Catholic Church, I am not a part. Of the catholic/universal Body of Christ, I am a member in particular and am subject to the local leaders of the Reformed band of Believers I uniquely am in covenant with.

Your term "Catholic" is making a distinction I am not making when I frame things "catholic".

That being said, though I have from time to time read some of the ECF's, and other writings down through history, various writings of others, I prefer to remain in the situation that the Apostle Paul writes about and commends followers of Christ when we read his exhortation:

Act 20:32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.


What is not alive today are all those guys, those historical writers after the last Apostle died and went onto his Eternal Glory in Christ, something I hope to do soon myself. Yes some of their if not all of their writings have been preserved for us to enjoy reading today and learn from, I won't necessarily draw from as I suppose you have indicated you will?

Breaking this up because of length.

natamllc said...

Christopher,


What is alive today is God and the Word of His Grace which I can turn to and appeal to presently for guidance and wisdom by communion with the Holy Spirit Who is sent to elucidate the Word of His Grace to me for understanding so I can confidently express my own beliefs and interpretations about the Word of His Grace. If you want to cite from ECF's or others to make your beliefs clear, by all means go for it.

I choose to rely upon the Word of His Grace and God Himself, the Holy Spirit, who was sent to me to guide me out of darkness and into all truth just as Jesus promised He would send Him to His Elect in the subsequent generations after His resurrection:

Joh 15:15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
Joh 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.


You can judge me by the fruits I bring forth in here as we exchange our beliefs and ideas of the Truth with each other as I will yours.

With that said, I will cite one other portion from John's Gospel in closing for now and wait your kind reply.

Joh 16:7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
Joh 16:8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
Joh 16:9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;
Joh 16:10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer;
Joh 16:11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
Joh 16:12 "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
Joh 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
Joh 16:14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.


The area I am most interested in discussing with you is the connection between what James was talking about @ James 2 and what Paul was talking about @ 1 Thessalonians 5 and 2 Thessalonians 1.

Just as a digression, I was a part of a ministry inside the beltway and our office was just behind the Children's Museum on H St. and at the "T" intersection of the old Union Station there in Washington D.C.. We were just on the border of some really hostile neighborhood where there was routinely a murder or mugging or two nightly!

Has D.C. gotten any safer since the 1990's or is it about the same?

natamllc said...

Peter,

yes, of course.

You write:

"Do you have another name I could call you? Natamllc is a little cumbersome to type in each time. :)

I was actually giving Augustine’s position in those four points so that when you read “Church” in his quote you would understand what he meant."


My given name is Michael.

Whether you are writing your own words or citing Augustine's your point is still your to support your claim that the RCC is the one true church in town, which I don't accept or believe, although as a young boy I was taught to believe that was so.

Point I am making is distinguished from your citation. I cited several passages from the Word of God where we see just how the promulgation of the Gospel of the Kingdom is done and the endgame, which is preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom to every creature for a witness and then the end shall come.

If you want, why don't you say something about RCC eschatology, then?

Pete Holter said...

Greetings in Christ, Christopher!

I’m not on Facebook, but you can email me at my Gmail account, “papist.pete.for.Jesus”. I usually only check this account once every couple of months, but I’ll be checking more frequently to see if I get an email from you.

In Christ,
Pete

Pete Holter said...

Hey, Michael!

Thanks, this is much better.

You wrote: “The Word of God is the Truth and the Truth is the Word of God.”

This reminded me of something the pope said recently:

“May He Who breathed on the Apostles at Easter, communicating His Spirit to them, likewise bestow upon us His breath, the power of the Holy Spirit, and so help us to become true witnesses to His love, witnesses to the truth. His truth is love. Christ’s love is truth” (Message to the International Eucharistic Congress, 6/17/12).

Michael wrote, “I wasn't much older than 8 years old when I was able to discern the RCC was up to something that was not for me. I am glad my Dad allowed me to stop going to catechism!”

I agreed and still agree with Brigitte when she wrote that she was “sorry your dad let you out of catechism class.”

In terms of eschatology, I am really looking forward to Christ’s return. May He come today. The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come! Come, Lord Jesus!” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKYdG6Ge30g

In Christ,
Pete

natamllc said...

Pete,

so you are taking your stand with the papacy, the magisterium, the mother of Jesus being a sinless creature and the many other things the RCC adheres to when you pass or Jesus returns?

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Hi Ken,

Good post and good comments.

FWIW, I agree with you in general about Anglicanism (i.e., yuck), and that being said, we both probably appreciate J.C. Ryle.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

subscribe

Ken said...

TUAD,
I was wondering where you were on this! Glad to see you are still here and keeping up.

Yes, J. C. Ryle was a good man. Praise God for the good conservative Anglicans still left, mostly in Africa and S. America.

Ken said...

Pete and Christopher,
I was busy all weekend and still am - I don't know if I will be able to respond to every thing soon, because of other work and life.

But I will make a few comments off the top of my head.

Generally, I see the Donatist problem in North Africa as something that was partly right and partly wrong. Certainly the violence faction, the Circumcellions, were wrong; but I believe that Augustine was wrong in his use of Luke 14:23 "compel them to come in" as justification for the secular/civil authorities to use force and the sword against the Donatists to return and submit to ecclesiastical authorities.

This is one of the great mistakes of the church later - under Justinian and others, Inquition, Crusades, etc. - the marriage of church and state was wrong.

I think that David King and William Webster have done us a great favor by at least bringing out some very important passages into English from Augustine's "On the Unity of the Church".

Your quote does not mean "the Roman Catholic Church" - there was no such thing in Augustine's day. the Roman church was just one area among many that were part of the catholic church. Cyprian, Fermillian and the 85 bishops from all over are still the correct view as far as Roman claims of "bishop over all other bishops" - around 256-258 AD.

I have tried to find the exact origin of the Latin phrase "ex opere operato" and those that seem to know said to me that it is not even in Augustine nor Optatus, but a later development read back into Augustine and Optatus.

The RC doctrine of "ex opere operato" as developed after Augustine and Optatus is a distortion and a false doctrine.

Ken said...

Your quote does not mean "the Roman Catholic Church" - means this one you quoted from Augustine:

“The whole Christ is the head and the body. The head is the only begotten Son of God, and his body is the Church: the bridegroom and the bride, two in one flesh (cf. Ephesians 5:23, 30-31). Those who shall dissent from what the sacred Scriptures say concerning the very Head, even if they are found in all places in which the church is designated, are not in the church. And, on the other hand, those who consent to the sacred scriptures concerning the very Head, and yet do not communicate with the unity of the Church, are not in the Church, because they dissent from the testimony of Christ Himself concerning the Body of Christ, which is the Church” (On the Unity of the Church, 4:7).

There is nothing in that statement of Augustine that is necessarily contradictory to Protestant ecclesiastical practice and doctrine. You are being anachronistic to take Augustine and read the Roman Catholic Church of 800 AD, 900 AD, 1215, 1302, 1545-1563, 1854, 1870, 1950 back into that.

Christopher Lake said...

Natamllc,

I know that you do not hold to Catholic ecclesiology. When you state that you are "catholic" but not "Roman Catholic," I understand you to mean that you subscribe to the Protestant concept of the true "catholic" church as simply being all true Christians, throughout the world, in various ecclesiastical communities. (Please correct me if I am wrong here about what you believe.) This is what I also believed was the true "catholic" church when I was a Protestant.

However, one Sunday morning, while I and the other members of my Protestant congregation were reciting (and thus affirming the words of) the Nicene Creed, I asked myself, "Do we understand the words, 'one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church' in the same way as the men who composed this creed understood those words?" Eventually, through historical research, I discovered that in fact, the men who composed the Nicene Creed understood "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church" in quite different ways than we did as Protestants. The more that I studied, the more divergences I noticed between the Christianity of 325 A.D. and much earlier, and the Christianity of the Reformers. Not to say that I ever came to believe that Protestants are not Christians-- not at all-- but more and more, I discovered, to my chagrin, from documents of early Christian history that predated even the codifying of the New Testament, that "Nicene Creed"-era Christianity simply differed in important ways from "Reformation Christianity." Why had I believed so strongly that the Reformers were Biblically correct (on justification and other theological matters), while reading so little of the early Church Fathers, the *earliest* Christian Scriptural exegetes, after the first apostles? These were hard questions for me but ones that I had to honestly face.

In John 16:7-14, one must take into account to whom Jesus is speaking. He is speaking specifically to men whom He personally has ordained and sent out for ministry. I do believe that the first apostles and their successors, down through history, have been guided by the Holy Spirit into all truth in their teaching authority. However, from the disagreement and fragmentation alone, in terms of theology and ecclesiology, which one can clearly see in Protestantism, it does not appear that Jesus intended to say, in John 16:7-14, that the Holy Spirit would guide each and every Christian into all truth via Sola Scriptura and the local body of believers (and leadership) to which they choose to submit. If this is how Jesus intended His church to work, I must ask, respectfully, after 500 years, how has the Holy Spirit guided Protestants into all truth on the subject of baptism? They cannot agree on whether their infants should be baptized or not-- and that is hardly an unimportant matter. How was the Holy Spirit guided Protestants into all truth even on the question of whether or not "true Christians" can walk away from God and lose their salvation? Luther and Calvin disagreed on this most crucial matter-- as do Protestants of today. Jesus did not command His disciples to write a book through which believers would be led by the Holy Spirit into all truth. They did write a book, the New Testament, and it is infallible and inerrant, and we are immeasurably blessed to have it. However, He did not command them to write this book. He did say that He was founding a Church, and He ordained them for ministry in it and sent them out to preach the Gospel to the world. That is the context of His words in John 16:7-14.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Hi Christopher Lake,

When you were at CHBC, did you know Pastor Mark Dever personally?

Christopher Lake said...

P.S. (to my above previous comment),

Natamllc, D.C. is safer than it was in the late 1980s, when it was the murder capitol of the nation for a time. However, there are still parts of D.C. in which, humanly speaking, it can be dangerous to venture. Having said that, in years past, I and other Christians spent time in some of the "roughest parts" of D.C., talking with people, out on the streets, about Christ and His death for them. To my knowledge, none of us was never physically harmed by anyone. Even if we had been, I would hope that that would not have prevented us from going to those areas of D.C. Now that I am back in the area again (after living elsewhere for a few years), I want to go back to those areas and talk with people about Christ again. As St. Justin Martyr wrote in the 2nd century, referring to those who were persecuting Christians, "They can kill us, but they can't harm us." Amen and amen.

Christopher Lake said...

Pete,

Great! I will be in touch very soon, Lord willing!

natamllc said...

Christopher,

you write:

"... you subscribe to the Protestant concept of the true "catholic" church as simply being all true Christians ...".

Can you narrow your understanding down to "what" or "which" Protestant concept you are making reference to?

You write:

"... I asked myself, "Do we understand the words, 'one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church' in the same way as the men who composed this creed understood those words?"

I refer you to what the Apostle Paul realized then penned by these Words:

Eph 3:8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,

If that is how the Apostle Paul understands "knowing" the message about God, how can creed be penned down to an absolute expression? I think what you experienced is great. What I think followed that bewilderment, if I might characterize what you experienced at that time, is the same urge everyone has when something unexplainable occurs or something unsearchable is realized, you go to getting a grip on it and you try to rationalize it down to something explainable or searchable. That's the poison unleashed by sin.

Satan before his rebellion was in the most wonderful of relationships with God of all God's creatures. Apparently, by unexplainable causes he wanted more and ended up getting booted out of what he did have! He came to this, "I will like God". His sin was transmitted to Adam and all human flesh that comes from Eve, the mother of all human flesh.

It's natural to want to be in control and to understand all things. Pride is what causes that. It too, pride, must be destroyed from our lives. Sad to say, the RCC practices and adherence just increases pride, not destroy it. People end up trying to earn their way into Heaven by complying with the RCC faith and practice. It no longer is what Christ has done and does keeping us until the day of Salvation, but rather by rote memory of prayers and practices which by now, after so many years, I doubt any Cardinal or the Pope himself keeps perfectly not to mention Priests fresh out of seminary?

continuing:::>

Christopher Lake said...

TUAD,

I was not a close, personal friend of Pastor Mark-- but I knew (and loved) him probably as well as did many other members of what was, at the time, an approximately 500-member church (with 200-300 non-members also in attendance on a given, usual Sunday morning). He interviewed me for membership at CHBC, and I happily signed their Confession of faith (the New Hampshire Confession) and the Membership covenant.

Mark, and the other members of CHBC, personally helped me in more ways than I recount here. I will not go into details, other than to say that, as a member of CHBC, he and others ministered to me in ways that I will never forget.

Even though I disagree with Mark on ecclesiology and certain matters of theology now, I still believe him to be one of the best preachers in the world. I am sure that he is very concerned for my soul, given that, in terms of the theology that is preached at CHBC, I have "apostatized." I still love him and miss him, as my brother in Christ, even as I understand that, for reasons of his own deep theological conviction, he cannot reciprocate, *in specific terms of" considering me a brother in Christ. I also understand that, from his perspective, his lack of reciprocity is *because* he loves me and cares about my soul. It's hard for me, but I do understand and respect his point of view.

Ken said...

Pete wrote:

But it would be even better if you and James and TurretinFan and John Bugay and James White and all the rest would be Catholic with us!

We are already "catholic", just not Roman Catholic, which is a heresy.

It is we who call you to repent and return to the gospel of grace alone through faith alone.


Romans 4:16

That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all

Rejecting "faith alone" actually is also rejecting "grace alone", even though your church won't admit it.

natamllc said...

Christopher,

first, I meant to write it this way instead of the way I did previously:

"I will be like God".

You wrote:

"...The more that I studied, the more divergences I noticed between the Christianity of 325 A.D. and much earlier, and the Christianity of the Reformers."

That seems about right! That is why I tend to stay majored in my daily fellowship and communion by the power of the Holy Spirit with the Holy Spirit, Christ and Our Heavenly Father and stay thoughtful in the Word of Their Grace, the Scriptures. I have found that staying focused there I am able to read the historical writings from the period just after the Apostles forward and judge for myself what to believe about them.

Again, you go right ahead and quote however much of the ECF's or others you want too to establish your beliefs. I choose to quote verses when expressing my beliefs so my beliefs are judge primarily basis the Word of God.

You write:

"... I discovered, to my chagrin, from documents of early Christian history that predated even the codifying of the New Testament, that "Nicene Creed"-era Christianity simply differed in important ways from "Reformation Christianity."

Ok. That's fairly straightforward.

Can you justify those words using only the Scriptures?

continuing:::>

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"I still love him and miss him, as my brother in Christ, even as I understand that, for reasons of his own deep theological conviction, he cannot reciprocate, *in specific terms of" considering me a brother in Christ. I also understand that, from his perspective, his lack of reciprocity is *because* he loves me and cares about my soul. It's hard for me, but I do understand and respect his point of view."

Christopher, does this mean that you have actually communicated to Pastor Dever that you have swam the Tiber? He really knows that you're Roman Catholic?

Christopher Lake said...

Sorry for the typos, everyone... I'm experiencing a bit of typing fatigue here... Lord willing, I will be back tomorrow to respond to natamllc and anyone else who may reply! Have a blessed night!

natamllc said...

Christopher,

you write:

"In John 16:7-14, one must take into account to whom Jesus is speaking. He is speaking specifically to men whom He personally has ordained and sent out for ministry. ...".

Yes, but, Jesus knowing all things being both the Alpha and "Omega", prayed this way and I am certain the Holy Spirit is very much on board with answering that prayer accordingly, then, the "Words" of those men that you have brought into question (John 16:7-14), their words the Holy Spirit will make plain in meaning to me in my day; a happy recipient of their "words":

Joh 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
Joh 17:18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.
Joh 17:19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
Joh 17:20 "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
Joh 17:21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
Joh 17:22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,
Joh 17:23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
Joh 17:24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Joh 17:25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me.
Joh 17:26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."


The ECF's and all others throughout time until these very moments are still subject to the eternal purpose of the Eternal God. The beautiful thing about it is God can and has made Himself available to any of His Elect so that we are not in the dark about anything or anyone at anytime in history. As I have said, I maintain that the five solas are where it is at from Genesis 1:1 to the last words "Amen." @ Revelation 22:21

Rev 22:21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

Now, of course, by saying that I have foisted into this debate with you a standard and major plant of Reformed Christianity.

Your religious practice now practiced as a member of the RCC, in order to set the five solas aside has to foist anachronisms into the debate to refute that these five solas clearly are existent in Scripture.

All that the Reformers did from the time of Luther and Calvin is refocus on the fundamentals of the Faith.

I hasten, though, to say, I am not disturbed one bit if some or many do not go onto maturity according to the basic principles of the oracles of the Faith written out @ Hebrews 6:1-2. I would note the reason is clearly revealed in Hebrews 6:3. why I am not disturbed and why I am quite willing to engage in this back and forth with you basis the Word of God on my side!

Let me say thank you for being so willing to engage in conversation with me in here and also, let's not forget to thank James Swan seeing this is his blog and we are using up his comment box to do it!

Thanks James!!!

natamllc said...

Christopher,

continuing then with understanding your exhaustion:

You write:

".... I do believe that the first apostles and their successors, down through history, have been guided by the Holy Spirit into all truth in their teaching authority.

...

If this is how Jesus intended His church to work, I must ask, respectfully, after 500 years, how has the Holy Spirit guided Protestants into all truth on the subject of baptism? ...
."

Let me state the obvious first, not ducking anything by it though. I am not the Holy Spirit! Ask Him why?

Second, I rely upon some realities taught by the Apostles. I will cite two, one from Paul and the other from Peter to answer with my own answer. If the Holy Spirit likes what I answer, I expect He will toll the bell of truth within your spirit what I answer is reasonable?

If not, just chuck it, cause if the Holy Spirit ain't in my words, why rely upon my words, then? I wouldn't!

Here's Paul:

1Co 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed.
1Co 12:2 You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led.
1Co 12:3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says "Jesus is accursed!" and no one can say "Jesus is Lord" except in the Holy Spirit.
1Co 12:4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;
1Co 12:5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord;
1Co 12:6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.
1Co 12:7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
1Co 12:8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,
1Co 12:9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,
1Co 12:10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
1Co 12:11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
1Co 12:12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
1Co 12:13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
1Co 12:14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many.


That cited, why would anyone think there is going to be uniformity in the Church? I would expect something is up if everyone was smelling like a nose! Let me ask, do eyes smell the aroma of a rose?

continuing:::>

natamllc said...

<:::continued:::>


Here's Peter:

1Pe 5:5 Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
1Pe 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,
1Pe 5:7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
1Pe 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1Pe 5:9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
1Pe 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
1Pe 5:11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.


The lesson here is people and personalities are so divisive. Immature people stay at odds with different folks because naturally birds of a feather tend to be of the same bird and flock. Have you ever studied just how many kinds and sizes of birds God created in the world and what color ranges between them?

Ok, waiting for you kind replies!

Pete Holter said...

Ken wrote, “I think that David King and William Webster have done us a great favor by at least bringing out some very important passages into English from Augustine’s On the Unity of the Church.”

I’m grateful for the selections that I’ve seen from Pastor King too. But it is to our ruin if we understand them in the way that he does, that is, as providing us with weapons against Christ’s Church. :(

You said that I’m reading “the Roman Catholic Church of 800 AD, 900 AD, 1215, 1302, 1545-1563, 1854, 1870, 1950 back into that” quote from Augustine. But the five points that I made come from Augustine himself. If any of those 5 points are in dispute, I’ll offer what I can to substantiate them.

In Christ,
Pete

John Bugay said...

I've not read most of this comment thread, but I wanted to stop by and address something that David Waltz said:

two inherent weaknesses: 1.) neither provides anything close to a coherent and cohesive theory of doctrinal development, which is extremely important when approaching historical theology; 2.) both rely way too much on liberal scholarship to support their polemics.

As to the first, I would highly recommend the writings of Dr. William Witt. Start here:

http://willgwitt.org/anglicanism/newmans-incoherence/#more-484

But check out everything he says in his "Development of Doctrine" thread. Since we Protestants are aware of our unity in the body of Christ, we can feel free to rely on each other's work, and not have to re-invent the wheel each time.

As far as "relying on liberal scholarship", that has no bearing whatsoever. There is no question that critical scholarship -- both liberal and conservative -- have made significant contributions to our understanding of the New Testament and subsequent history of the church. But I'll tell you again, whether someone believes that the "Pastoral" epistles were written by Paul in the 60's or some close disciple of his in the 80's has no bearing at all on, say, one's studies of Clement and Irenaeus.

Ken said...

John,
Thanks for commenting and for the link on William Witt.

In case you missed my comment to David W. on using liberal scholarship and Peter Lampe - I reproduce it again below.

David W. never answered me on the fact that Lampe assumes that the pastoral books details of Paul's travels have to fit in with event in the book of Acts, rather than the obvious fact that the abruptness of Acts ending shows that he was released from house arrest, made more travels, wrote 1 Tim. and Titus and was arrested again and wrote 2 Tim. while awaiting execution.

From a combox above:

For anyone interested, David Waltz and I already discussed/"debated" the issue of the pastoral epistles and using liberal scholarship like Peter Lampe. Using some of Lampe's evidence doesn't mean one has to agree with his other presuppositions.

http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2011/04/no-logical-necessity-of-inconsistency.html

and also, in a different context, earlier, here:

http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2010/08/getting-to-specific-issue.html

Pete Holter said...

In one place Pastor King said that the 12 quotes he had provided from On the Unity of the Church, “show that Augustine, in his dispute with the Donatists, made his appeal to the Scriptures alone.” But if we are speaking of the dispute in general, to say “alone” here is too broad a claim. Augustine elsewhere said to one, “let our arguments appeal [both] to reason and to the authoritative teaching of the Divine Scriptures” (Letter 23, 7). To another he said that “the question in debate… is to be decided by the Holy Scriptures or by ecclesiastical or public documents” (Letter 34, 6). He called upon the Donatists to “submit yourselves to the Acts of the Church” (Letter 43, Ch. 5:14). And he said that “if we prove by divine or human evidence […] either that those who were indicted on false charges were innocent, or that the Church of Christ, whose communion we share, was not destroyed by any of their sins, then let them return to unity with us, and let them find the way of salvation” (Letter 127). He said to not only “let us take care to have the canonical books at hand for reference,” but to also “[l]et any other documents be brought thither which either party may judge useful” (Letter 44, 14). He said that “we must begin with the original inquiry: why you became schismatics”; and that he wanted “to confine the debate to the question upon which the whole matter hinges, namely, the origin of the schism” (Letter 87), which was a question of history. And after recounting the inherently contradictory nature of the history of their schism, Augustine said, “The case is closed (Latin: Finita est causa), brother Macrobius; God has done this; God has willed it; it was an act of His secret providence that a mirror of correction should be set before you in the case of Maximian” (Letter 108).

Pastor King also wrote, “Notice how Augustine does not lodge his argument in an appeal to apostolic succession in this particular work…”

But the Catholic Church recognized the Donatist episcopacy, so we shouldn’t expect to see much of an appeal being made to apostolic succession anywhere since it is largely a moot point, although it does gain mention in Letter 53. Ironically, in accepting Donatist ordinations, Augustine saw himself as “obeying herein the decree of the bishops who gave sentence in the Church at Rome,” who had determined that the Donatists “should be received, after correction, with full recognition of their orders even if they had been ordained outside the Church” (Letter 185, Ch. 10:47). Concerning this decree, Augustine had exclaimed, “what a decision was finally pronounced by the blessed Melchiades himself; how equitable, how complete, how prudent, and how fitted to make peace! […] O excellent man! O son of Christian peace, father of the Christian people!” (Letter 43, Ch. 5:16)

In Christ,
Pete

Ken said...

Pete,
1. When I have time, I want to look up all the references you give. (Letters of Augustine, etc.)

Are they all there at either the www.ccel.org or newadvent web-sites on the early church fathers?

2. Even so, apostolic succession in the early period is not the same thing as what is claimed by Roman Catholics. Early Church writers and apostles appealed to elders and bishops of the "catholic" churches against Gnosticism and other heresies - they said basically, "we have always believed this or that; that the God of the OT is Father, Good, and Creator of all things, Almighty, etc." They said, "that is the tradition, the faith, the preaching, the rule of faith". (Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, Athanasius, Augustine)

Their appeal to what the other churches/elders/bishops taught and their statements do NOT give you the right to then project them into the future and say they will infallibly get the interpretation right always. That is the problem with the RC claim of infallibility for itself.

The great difference between Protestant catholics who hold to the Trinity and Sola Scriptura and also believe in church authority/elders/overseers/pastors whose job it is to interpret Scripture properly, is that we realize they (elders/pastors/church authority) make mistakes and Scripture is our constant infallible guide to protect us from going into heresy, as the RC has done. Scripture corrects your false doctrines.

Pete Holter said...

Hey Ken!

Most of the letters are there, but you’ll have to go to www.archive.org for a few of them. And Letter 49 is sometimes viewable on Google books, but I can only see part of it today. Here’s the main thrust of this letter:

“[W]e see that the Church of God that is called Catholic is spread throughout the world, as it was foretold that it would be… But how can anything be seen with greater evidence than when we find the names of regions and of cities in [Paul’s] letters? He writes to the Romans, to the Corinthians, [etc.] And it is evident that we are today in communion with all these churches, just as it is evident that you are not in communion with these churches. We ask, then, that you not delay to reply to us with the reason—which you perhaps know—why it has come about that Christ lost His inheritance spread throughout the world and suddenly remained only among the Africans” (Letter 49).

The leaders in the Church are ordained by other ordained leaders in the Church who were themselves ordained by other ordained leaders in the Church, etc. until we come to the apostles who were chosen by Christ Himself. This is the pattern established in the New Testament: it is the current generation of leadership that lays hands on the next generation. If someone feels called by God to leadership in the Church of Christ, then they need to be recognized by those who have been ordained in accordance with this pattern. The Reformed were not concerned to preserve this order and did away with the episcopacy and the sacrament of ordination. In Augustine’s eyes, this puts the Reformed in a position worse than the Donatists. The Reformed do not distinguish between bishops and elders, and Augustine identified this as a heretical opinion in his day (cf. On Heresies, 53).

I guess what I should ask from you is to point me to the heresy that I have embraced. You said that Trent anathematized the gospel. Maybe we can work through the specific canons that are causing you trouble.

In Christ,
Pete

Ken said...

I guess what I should ask from you is to point me to the heresy that I have embraced.

condemnation of Sola Fide - Trent
1215 - Transubstantiation
1302- Unam Sanctum
1854- Immaculate Conception
1870- Infallibility of Pope
1950- Bodily Assumption of Mary

Indulgences, Penance, Priesthood, ex opere operato; Purgatory, OT Apocrypha, praying to dead saints, statues, praying to Mary and calling her another mediator - co-mediatrix - contradictory to 1 Tim. 2:5; calling her co-redemptrix, Queen of heaven, Spouse of the Spirit, etc.

All of these things are heretical and false teachings or false practices.

natamllc said...

Geeesh Ken,

want to choke Pete! :)?

bit by bit, here a little, there a little!

:))))

Pete Holter said...

Hi Ken!

Do you mind if I pick “condemnation of Sola Fide –Trent” and we work through this one? Since the condemnations take place in the canons, would you like to pick one of the canons from the decree concerning justification so that we can talk about it? Or you can pick one of the other topics. I mean, if you’d like to talk about any of this with me.

In Christ,
Pete

Ken said...

R. C. Sproul in his book, Faith Alone, already went through Canons 9, 10, and 11 - and wrote a whole book on this issue.

Too much for com boxes at this time.

Also Martin Chemnitz already did the same thing a long time ago in his work on the Council of Trent.

Pete Holter said...

Ken wrote, “Too much for com boxes at this time.”

Ok, thanks. I will follow your lead.

As Michael said, thanks James!

In Christ,
Pete

Christopher Lake said...

Natamllc,

You've given me a good bit to consider and respond to here, which I don't mind at all, but I've already typed a good bit today (responding to RPV on another thread here, and replying to a person on "Called to Communion" who had been waiting for days for me to continue our discussion there), so to save my hands from further pain or numbness, I'm going to continue to think over your comments and, Lord willing, I will reply by either Thursday or Friday. (I also have to do some traveling in and around the area this week, which is sometimes a challenge, given my disability and the fact that I can't drive.) Thank you for your patience.

Christopher Lake said...

TUAD,

To explain my situation-- by the time that I returned to the Catholic Church (I am actually a "revert" after several years as a committed Protestant), I had not been a member of CHBC for almost three years. I was, however, a member of another, similarly Calvinistic church in another geographical area, and I was in mutually committed discussion with leadership there, during the time in which I was grappling with questions about Calvinism, particularly, and Protestantism, Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy (broadly).

I chose to discuss these issues mainly with elders in my church of the time, rather than with Pastor Dever at CHBC, given that CHBC teaches that it is the elders at one's own church who are charged (in terms of their leadership, not to exclude one's own responsibility in these matters) with the overseeing of their congregants' spiritual health.

However, for this entire time of discussion between me and elders of my local church (mainly, but not exclusively, with one elder with whom I definitely *did* have a personal friendship), Mark was my friend on Facebook. He is a very, very busy man, and we almost never interacted personally on FB, but he was my friend there. At one point, my elder friend mentioned to me that one of our other elders had bumped into Mark at a conference. Apparently, Mark asked him," Is Christopher Lake considering going back to the Catholic Church?" When I heard this from my elder friend, I was somewhat amazed, as I had never said such a thing to Mark! Perhaps Mark had read one of my comments/questions on CTC; I really don't know.

When, after months of meetings and discussions at my local church, I *did* ultimately return to the Catholic Church, I was "disciplined" by the elders of the church which I had left. I was sent letters, warning me of my apostasy, telling me that I had "shipwrecked my faith," and imploring me to "return to the Gospel." However, none of these statements strongly surprised me, because, as an ardent five-point-Calvinist Protestant, I would have said/written the same things to a Protestant friend who left for, or returned to, the Catholic Church.

After I had been back in full communion with the Catholic Church for some time, I was no longer Mark Dever's friend on Facebook. I did not unfriend him though. I don't know if *he* unfriended me personally, or if one of his assistants did it. However, I was unfriended. He never contacted me personally either way. I can understand why the unfriending was done, given that I was posting affirmatively about "Catholic things" on my FB page, and Mark almost certainly did not want to be associated with that. I do wish that he would have sent me a private message before I was unfriended though, even if it were only to tell me, as others were doing, that I had "rejected the Gospel."

Christopher Lake said...

P.S. to TUAD,

Again, I still love and miss Pastor Dever as a man who was my elder at CHBC and who helped me to grow spiritually in so many ways. I am not angry with him about the FB unfriending. As I wrote above, I understand why it was done. I did not write about it here to cast him in a bad light, and I do *not* want anyone, of any theological/ecclesiastical persuasion (Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, etc.), to *use* that information in a negative way.

I shared that information here mainly to try to communicate the nature of my interaction (and/or lack thereof) with him after I left CHBC (on good terms with everyone there) and moved to another part of the U.S., where I joined another Calvinistic church (and, where, after a couple of continued years as a very "happy Calvinist," I began to question Calvinism and, ultimately, Protestantism itself).

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Christopher Lake,

Thanks for the recounting of events with CHBC and Pastor Dever.

I was just curious because I was speculating, and speculating reasonably, that Pastor Dever would have endeavored mightily to persuade you from reverting back to Catholicism if he had a chance to.

Christopher Lake said...

TUAD,

I can understand your speculation-- but again, Pastor Dever was my friend on Facebook for the entire time that I was in discussion with the elders at my local church (and before that too). As I mentioned above, well before I returned to the Church, he asked one of my elders, at a conference, if I was thinking about doing so. He could have contacted me at any time, but in charity, I choose to believe that he did not contact me because he sincerely believes (from what he taught me and others at CHBC) that it is the elders to whom one "submits" in one's chosen local church who have responsibility (in a limited, "leadership" sense) for overseeing one's spiritual health-- not one's former elder thousands of miles away in another church. That is Pastor Dever's view of what Scripture teaches, as he taught it at CHBC. This is why I believe he never contacted me during my discernment process about the Catholic Church or after my return.

As it was, the Protestant elders and friends with whom I did meet, in person, tried their best to persuade me not to return to the Catholic Church. They did what they believe they should have done-- and I am thankful to them for it, even though they did not achieve what they wished.

I should also note that I was well-inculcated with anti-Catholic exegesis and apologetics during my time at CHBC and at the other church. This was so much the case that after I left CHBC and moved to the other church, I continued to consider Catholics to be spiritually lost and worked to "evangelize" them.

Pete Holter said...

Michael asked, “so you are taking your stand with the papacy, the magisterium, the mother of Jesus being a sinless creature and the many other things the RCC adheres to when you pass or Jesus returns?”

Hey Michael!

Yes! I believe that the Church on earth has a senior pastor to help keep us in unity with each other and who works in cooperation with the rest of the pastors of Christ’s flock to give us assurance that we have a saving understanding of the Bible. I believe that God saved Mary in a unique way and gave her to me as a spiritual mother and example of discipleship in loving Jesus.

Another way of saying it is that I am taking my stand with Jesus, by the grace of God. :)

In Christ,
Pete

Pete Holter said...

Pastor King quotes this larger selection from On the Unity of the Church:

“I have the most manifest voice of my Pastor commending to me, and without any hesitation setting forth the church. I will impute it to myself, if I shall wish to be seduced by the words of men and to wander from his flock, which is the church itself, since he specially admonished me saying, ‘My sheep hear my voice and follow me.’ Listen to his voice clear and open. Whoever does not follow having heard this, how will he dare to call himself his sheep? Let no one say to me, ‘What hath Donatus said, what hath Parmenian said, or Pontius, or any of them.’ For we must not allow even Catholic bishops, if at any time, perchance, they are in error, to hold any opinion contrary to the Canonical Scriptures of God” (On the Unity of the Church, Ch. 11:28).

Augustine proceeds at this point to quote Philippians 3:15 and to briefly make the same point that he had made at greater length in On Baptism:

“For we are but men; and it is therefore a temptation incident to men that we should hold views at variance with the truth on any point. But to come through too great love for our own opinion, or through jealousy of our betters, even to the sacrilege of dividing the communion of the Church, and of founding heresy or schism, is a presumption worthy of the devil… [Paul] says in another place, ‘Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.’ But to whom does He reveal it when it is His will (be it in this life or in the life to come), save to those who walk in the way of peace, and stray not aside into any schism? Not to such as those who have not known the way of peace, or for some other cause have broken the bond of unity” (On Baptism, Against the Donatists, Bk. 2, Ch. 5:6).

Augustine drew again from Philippians 3:15 in order to describe what had happened at the “plenary council of the whole world” (On Baptism, Against the Donatists, Bk. 1, Ch. 7:9), which had corrected Cyprian’s erroneous opinion. To Eugenius of Ammedera (one of the bishops at Cyprian’s council), Augustine responded, “But this is not the judgment which the Church pronounces, to which also God has now revealed in a plenary Council the point in which ye were then still otherwise minded, but because saving charity was in you, ye remained in unity” (On Baptism, Against the Donatists, Bk. 6, Ch. 39:76). On the other hand, “the snares of heretics and schismatics prove for this reason only too pernicious to the carnally-minded, because their very progress is intercepted when their vain opinions are confirmed in opposition to the Catholic truth, and the perversity of their dissension is strengthened against the Catholic peace” (On Baptism, Against the Donatists, Bk. 3, Ch. 15:20).

In other words, we can only make progress in the Scriptures if we hold to Catholic unity with the love that “binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:14).

With love in Christ,
Pete

John Bugay said...

Hey Ken, thanks for the links. I had seen them, but they are a good reminder here.

Pete Holter said...

John Bugay!

Have you guys noticed? John’s demeanor and graciousness in that Called to Communion thread?

God is doing a work in you, John!

In Christ,
Pete

natamllc said...

Pete,

you write:

"...I believe that God saved Mary in a unique way and gave her to me as a spiritual mother and example of discipleship in loving Jesus. "

Pete, let me ask?

Do you pray to Paul the Apostle?

Do you pray to Moses?

Do you pray to Daniel?

Do you pray to Elijah?

Do any of these men of Faith pray for you?

Pete Holter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pete Holter said...

Hi Michael!

We have different ways of reading the Bible on this point. You had asked me last year whether I prayed to Mary. I shared a few thoughts in that thread:

http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2011/09/prayers-for-dead-and-marian.html#comment-307209514

http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2011/09/prayers-for-dead-and-marian.html#comment-310430000

http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2011/09/prayers-for-dead-and-marian.html#comment-315798455

Drawing from Jeremiah 15:1, John Calvin said that “Moses, of whom it is said, ‘if he interceded,’ did not intercede for the people in their extreme necessity: it is probable, therefore, that no other saint intercedes, all being far behind Moses in humanity, goodness, and paternal solicitude. Thus all they gain by their caviling is to be wounded by the very arms with which they deem themselves admirably protected” (Institutes, 3.20.23). This seemed persuasive to me when I first read it, before coming back to the Catholic Church. But we believe that Moses was in Hades during the time preceding Christ, and so he was not able “to stand before” God when Jeremiah was prophesying.

I don’t know whether each of those saints you’ve mentioned has prayed for me. But I would guess so. And I don’t know if I’ve prayed to each of them either. I don’t think I have.

With love in Christ,
Pete

natamllc said...

Pete,

might this be "extra-biblical" in sum and substance?

"We have different ways of reading the Bible on this point. ...".

While I believe Mary is just as much alive and functioning with her spirit, soul and body in Heaven right now as Moses is, Elijah, Daniel and Paul and on and on and on we can cite those persons who have died in Christ full of His Faith, the sorts of people like those listed in the book of Hebrews chapter 11, your sentence goes to show us that you practice a religion of an extra biblical interpretation. You pray to and seem to gain spiritual nourishment from Mary. Where in the Bible does the Holy Spirit ever teach that? Can you cite chapter and verse?

Pete Holter said...

Hi Michael!

As I mentioned before, we are all in the Body of Christ, whether in heaven, purgatory, or here on earth, being built up together in love. So we reason from this that we have communion with one another. The saints in heaven are with the angels, and Revelation tells us that the angels, elders, and living creatures present the prayers of the saints to God (Revelation 5:8, 8:3-4). In Revelation 7:9-12 we see that all the saints in heaven are gathered around the throne together with the angels and elders, etc. In other words, our prayers are present to them, they are aware of them. Luke also tells us that “there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10). Since we know that the angels and saints in heaven are intermingled, we believe that the saints in heaven are likewise rejoicing over the sinner who repents, i.e., the saints in heaven are aware of the outworkings of God’s plan of salvation on earth. And I know that they love me and are concerned for me with the love of God. From all of this it follows that I should acknowledge to the saints and angels our common fellowship together in the worship and love of God, and that I can benefit from their prayers and intercession.

With love in Christ,
Pete

natamllc said...

Pete,

wanting to make a clear distinction between your practice of religion as taught and adhered too by RCC and my practice of the Word of God, I will.

First,

The Gospel:

1Co 15:1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand,
1Co 15:2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain.
1Co 15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
1Co 15:4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
1Co 15:5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

...


1Co 15:11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.


These words are very clear and let it be noted that there is no mention of Mary, Jesus' mother, having any more or less of a particular place in the adherence to the Gospel by the Elect.

Now, you write:

"As I mentioned before, we are all in the Body of Christ, whether in heaven, purgatory, or here on earth, being built up together in love. So we reason from this that we have communion with one another."

No, "we" are not all in the body of Christ. There is not nor can there be any communion between you and me, the RCC and those who adhere to the Faith once delivered to the Saints in our lifetimes.

continuing:::>

natamllc said...

continued:

Later on in Scripture Paul the Apostle wrote this:

Gal 1:6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel--
Gal 1:7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.
Gal 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.
Gal 1:9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
Gal 1:10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.


I do not find it any more surprising now like it was then when Paul wrote those words "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel-- ..."..

Why?

Well, because of the passage of time one can put side by side the Truth of Scripture with the purely human truths and extra-biblical teaches of what is now come to be the RCC.

Show me in Scripture the teaching of purgatory?

You failed to show me chapter and verse where any Apostle taught Saints are to be praying to Mary drawing spiritual nourishment from her.

Why?

Well the obvious answer is because there is no writing of the Apostles that taught that.

Now you want to mesh together adherence of those adhering to the Faith once delivered to the Saints and your practices under adherence to the RCC.

The Apostle John had some harsh words for this sort of meshing:

2Jn 1:6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.
2Jn 1:7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.
2Jn 1:8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward.
2Jn 1:9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
2Jn 1:10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting,
2Jn 1:11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

...

Rev 18:4 Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, "Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues;
Rev 18:5 for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.
Rev 18:6 Pay her back as she herself has paid back others, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed.

Pete Holter said...

Michael wrote, “You failed to show me chapter and verse where any Apostle taught Saints are to be praying to Mary drawing spiritual nourishment from her.”

Hi Michael!

We believe that Christ is raised from the dead in accordance with the Scriptures, that there is only one gospel of Christ, that the love of many will grow cold, that others will begin following no gospel at all, and that there are many deceivers who deny that Jesus came in the flesh.

But we also believe that the mother of the Lord has been given over to the beloved disciples to be a mother to them. John never gives us Mary’s name in his gospel, but refers to her only as woman (John 2:4 and 19:26) and mother (John 2:1, 3, 5, 12; 6:42; 19:25-27). Apart from a reference to a generic “mother” in John 3:4, Mary is the only one who is called “mother” in all of John’s Gospel. She is “the mother of Jesus,” she is, “His mother,” she is, “His mother,” etc. And then at the end of John’s Gospel, Jesus says that she is our mother too. When we read John’s Gospel while holding in our minds the fact that we have been adopted into the family of God, it is as if we can hear John saying to those of us who are in Christ, “she is our mother,” “she is our mother,” “she is our mother…”

There is another figure who is presented by John as both woman and mother, the one clothed with the sun in his Revelation (Ch. 12). “[T]hose who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus” are all “her offspring” (Revelation 12:17). This is Mary, the new Mother of the Living, the new Eve, our spiritual mother: at enmity with Satan and protected by God from all of his assaults (cf. Genesis 3:15, Revelation 12). Since Mary, as mother, is the personal archetype of the Church as our mother, a local instantiation of the universal church can be fitly described as “the elect lady and her children” (2 John 1:1). Who is the Elect Lady? Mary! And who are her children? All of the brothers and sisters of Jesus. :)

This does not in any way deny any part of the Gospel, but rather helps us to appreciate the full measure of the grace and love available to us in the building up of the family of God. Those who faithfully proclaim the one and only Gospel of Christ that you referred to are the sons and daughters of Mary by the grace of God, both for her and for us. And knowing that we have a mother in Jesus, we know that God has provided a way for her to carry out this role and to spiritually nourish each one of us.

As for purgatory, I’ve shared links to my long and boring thoughts over here: http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=559394#9. Feel free to interact with anything that I’ve written there.

With love in Christ,
Pete

natamllc said...

Pete,

as always,

nothing you have put forth has any Biblical foundation that is holding to or establishing the Truth of the Gospel of the Kingdom.

These things are you write are things I have heard for quite a long time now and are things that are as has been said already, "extra-biblical" teachings found only in the RCC.

It is indeed both sad and frightening to me to read your words because there is no edification of the Truth in them just a subtle drawing away from the Gospel.

And as I quoted already, you are accursed for teaching something not clearly taught in Scripture.

Pete Holter said...

Michael wrote,

“…nothing you have put forth has any Biblical foundation…

“These things… you write are things … that are … "extra-biblical" teachings…

“…you are accursed for teaching something not clearly taught in Scripture.”

If you have any questions about what we believe as Catholic Christians or would like to interact with anything I’ve written, let me know and I’ll do my best to clarify.

Augustine wrote of “the expression [that was] so common in Christian lips, where some humble person commends himself to one of the saints, and says, ‘Remember me’… [in order] to avail himself of the merits of the saints” (The City of God, Bk. 21, Ch. 27).

With love in Christ,
Pete

Christopher Lake said...

Natamllc (and anyone else who may be reading here),

I apologize for my recent absence from our discussion. As I wrote to another person in another thread here (trying to get caught up on various threads!), I pulled a muscle in my back a few days ago and was in quite intense pain, to the point that it seriously hurt to sit in an upright position for more than a few minutes at my computer. At certain points, I thought I was going to have a heart attack from the pain. Thanks be to God that the problem is now resolved. Before I returned to our discussion, I did, for better or worse, get unwittingly entangled in another dialogue on Facebook, but I'm glad to be back here to continue our exchanges. Now, back to this discussion! :-) (continued in next comment)

Christopher Lake said...

Michael (natamllc),

I have to say that, looking over your recent comments in this thread to Pete, I am now wondering if it would truly be fruitful to try to have a discussion with you here about the Scriptures you have quoted in your recent comments to me.

The two major issues at hand, for me here, are that 1). You and I are clearly working from different paradigms: the Reformation concept of Sola Scriptura (which I strongly embraced, myself, for years!) vs. Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition (2 Thessalonians 2:15), and 2. Your clear belief that Catholics are spiritually lost and damned, and thus, unable to even *truly, rightly understand* Scripture.

Especially given the 2nd point, and how you have replied to Pete here, when he has provided *many, many Scriptures* for you to consider, it is increasingly difficult for me to see how I would not be wasting my time appealing to Scripture to defend Catholic teachings in our conversations. I would love to be wrong about that, but it's hard not to be skeptical, when you won't even substantively respond to Pete, and the Scriptures which he provides, but rather, you simply issue assertions that he is Scripturally wrong and rebukes that he is denying the Gospel.

There must be more to Catholic/Protestant dialogue than such things, if that dialogue is to be productive. Unfortunately, those things are most of what I am seeing from you here. It is grieving to me, as your brother in Christ, though I know that you do not accept me as such-- and I understand that, because I once believed as you do about the Catholic Church and her teachings.

Ken said...

Sorry I have been too busy to keep up with this discussion lately.

I read Pete's take on Mary above, claiming that Mary is the woman in Revelation 12.

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; 2 and she was with child; and she * cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.
Revelation 12:1-2

Pete,
How can that be Mary when she had physical pain in childbirth?

Your church dogmatically teaches that she was a virgin before birth, during birth, and after the birth of Christ.


"... virginity in the birth [of Jesus] (in partu == without birth pangs and/or rupture of the hymen). Finally, it came to be understood as virginity...after the birth (post partum = no sexual relations and no further children). That is, semper virgo, for all time, perpetual virginity.....According to Pope Siricius...even marital intercourse would have meant defilement for Mary."

Today, the Church teaches "that the Blessed Mother of Jesus Christ was a virgin before, during and after the conception and birth of her divine son." (New advent) Thus, Jesus had no full brothers or sisters.

The dogma of the Roman Catholic church also includes the perpetual virginity of Mary and Mary's immaculate conception. It teaches that:

Mary's hymen was preserved intact during the delivery of Jesus.

There is no mention of this in the Bible.

Mary remained a virgin for the rest of her life. Her marriage to Joseph was never consummated, and thus the couple never had any more children. "

So how could Rev. 12 be about Mary?

Ken said...

http://newtheologicalmovement.blogspot.com/2011/12/virgin-birth-of-christ-what-church.html

Another official Roman Catholic web-blog that says the same thing.

Ken said...

Christopher,
So sorry that you pulled a muscle and all the pain you experienced; I sincerely hope that is better now.

It is almost 2 am here and I and tired and so, cannot read or understand anymore of this in order to discuss or debate.

Pete Holter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pete Holter said...

Ken wrote, “How can that be Mary when she had physical pain in childbirth?”

Hi, Ken!

Welcome back!

I’ve shared some of my thoughts on Mary’s virginity with John Bugay, here: http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=532097&page=10#149.

Although I do believe that the birth of Jesus was miraculous and that Mary remained a virgin, I am not convinced that Mary experienced a pain-free delivery. I have not been satisfied by the attempts made to refer the “birth pains and the agony of giving birth” of Revelation 12:2 to something other than Mary’s labor pains in giving birth to Jesus, to the exclusion of her own pains.

In a comment under his article, Father Erlenbush wrote that, “While it would not be totally outside the realm of possibility for her to suffer when giving birth ... IN FACT this did not happen, as we know from the unanimous teaching of the Church Fathers.”

But John Chrysostom wrote that the wise men were not “present with the mother in her pangs” (Greek: ὠδίνουση τῆ μητρὶ παρῆσαν; cf. Galatians 4:19, 27; Revelation 12:2) (Homily 6.1 on Matthew), and that “no sooner was she arrived at Bethlehem than she brought her pangs to an end (Greek: καὶ τάς ὠδίνας ἔλυσεν; cf. Mark 13:8; Matthew 24:8; Acts 2:24; 1 Thessalonians 5:3). […] [A] regular conception takes place, and a time of nine months, and pangs (Greek: καὶ ὠδίνες), and a delivery, and giving suck, and silence for so long a space” (Homily 8.1, 4 on Matthew).

Although belief in Mary having a pain-free delivery predominates in Catholic theology, I do not believe that this is a dogma of the Christian faith.

With love in Christ,
Pete

Ken said...

Pete,
Thanks for the quotes from a very key early church father- John Chrysostom!

His quote bolsters our position.

If her hymen was not broken when Christ was born, where did the pains and pangs and labor come from?

It is obvious that Mary was a virgin before the birth of Jesus, but His birth was normal, there was pain, there was labor, and it was very human - part of the humanity of Jesus and Mary's part is part of the humanity of being a real mother.

Her hymen was broken, which is what is implied by the pains / pangs. And it is obvious that she and Joseph had a normal marriage after Jesus was born and they had sexual relations and the 'brothers and sisters of the Lord" are the offspring of Mary and Joseph.

Pete Holter said...

Hi Ken!

Thanks for your comments. You wrote of Chrysostom that “His quote bolsters our position.”

Chrysostom also speaks of of “a child-bearing so strange.” He wonders at “how the Virgin bears, and continues a virgin” (Homily 4.6 on Matthew).

“And when he had taken her, ‘he knew her not, till she had brought forth her first-born Son.’ He has here used the word ‘till,’ not that you should suspect that afterwards he did know her, but to inform you that before the birth the Virgin was wholly untouched by man. But why then, it may be said, has he used the word, ‘till’? Because it is usual in Scripture often to do this, and to use this expression without reference to limited times. For so with respect to the ark likewise, it is said, ‘The raven returned not till the earth was dried up.’ And yet it did not return even after that time. And when discoursing also of God, the Scripture says, ‘From age until age You are,’ not as fixing limits in this case. And again when it is preaching the Gospel beforehand, and saying, ‘In his days shall righteousness flourish, and abundance of peace, till the moon be taken away,’ it does not set a limit to this fair part of creation. So then here likewise, it uses the word ‘till,’ to make certain what was before the birth, but as to what follows, it leaves you to make the inference. Thus, what it was necessary for you to learn of Him, this He Himself has said; that the Virgin was untouched by man until the birth; but that which both was seen to be a consequence of the former statement, and was acknowledged, this in its turn he leaves for you to perceive; namely, that not even after this, she having so become a mother, and having been counted worthy of a new sort of travail, and a child-bearing so strange, could that righteous man ever have endured to know her. For if he had known her, and had kept her in the place of a wife, how is it that our Lord commits her, as unprotected, and having no one, to His disciple, and commands him to take her to his own home? How then, one may say, are James and the others called His brethren? In the same kind of way as Joseph himself was supposed to be husband of Mary” (Homily 5.5 on Matthew).

You asked, “where did the pains and pangs and labor come from?”

If Mary experienced birth pains, we might think that they were on account of uterine contractions or perhaps something else.

What’s your walk with Christ look like? How did you come to know Him?

With love in Christ,
Pete

Ken said...

It is a kind of Gnosticism for the Roman Catholic Church to demand that Mary was a virgin during the birth of Jesus (that is, her hymen was not broken and Jesus just "popped out"); and that she was a virgin after the birth of Jesus. It is clear in the Bible that she was a virgin before the birth of Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-35)

So, the Biblical data over-rules what early church fathers say, as the Scriptures are infallible and they are not.

You wrote:
What’s your walk with Christ look like? How did you come to know Him?

Walking with the Lord in prayer and meditating in Scripture each day and seeking to be obedient and humble, spending time worshiping Him is very important; and fellowshipping with the saints at my local church weekly (Sundays, Wednesdays) is part of the Christian walk; abiding in Christ - John 15:1-6; Hebrews 10:25

I came to know the Lord when a guy at the United Methodist Church I was going to came to be Youth pastor and he preached the gospel to me in the summer of 1977. I realized I was a sinner and must cry out for mercy and for God to save me and trust Christ as the only Savior and Lord - I remember John 1:12 being a very important verse.

Pete Holter said...

Ken wrote, “It is a kind of Gnosticism for the Roman Catholic Church to demand that Mary was a virgin during the birth of Jesus… and that she was a virgin after the birth of Jesus. It is clear in the Bible that she was a virgin before the birth of Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-35). So, the Biblical data over-rules what early church fathers say, as the Scriptures are infallible and they are not.”

The Bible rules over the Fathers, but consider the possibility that the Bible does not speak against the faith of the Fathers in this regard, and that what we believe agrees with everything the Bible asserts. Consider the following thoughts from Augustine as he bears witness to what Catholic Christians believe concerning Mary’s virginity:

“The body of the infant Jesus was brought forth from the womb of His mother, still a virgin, by the same power which afterwards introduced His body when He was a man through the closed door into the upper chamber. Here, if the reason of the event is sought out, it will no longer be a miracle; if an example of a precisely similar event is demanded, it will no longer be unique” (Letter 137, Ch. 2:8).

“Moreover, when that burial is made an object of belief, there enters also the recollection of the new tomb, which was meant to present a testimony to Him in His destiny to rise again to newness of life, even as the Virgin’s womb did the same to Him in His appointment to be born. For just as in that sepulchre no other dead person was buried, whether before or after Him; so neither in that womb, whether before or after, was anything mortal conceived” (On Faith and the Creed, Ch. 5:11).

“Fertility is a blessing in marriage, but integrity in holiness is better. Therefore, the Man Christ who was able to furnish both prerogatives to His Mother (for He was God as well as Man) would never have granted to His Mother the blessing in which wives delight in such a way as to deprive her of the better gift for which virgins forego motherhood. And so, the holy Church, as a virgin, celebrates today the child-bearing of a virgin. For to the Church the Apostle says: ‘I have betrothed you to one spouse, that I might present you a chaste virgin to Christ.’ Why, addressing so many persons of both sexes, including not only youths and maidens but also married men and women, does he say ‘a chaste virgin’? Why is this, I repeat, unless he refers to the integrity of faith, hope, and charity? Hence, Christ, intending to establish virginity in the heart of the Church, preserved it first in the body of Mary” (Sermon 188, 3).

“Thus the prediction of the Psalmist was fulfilled: ‘Truth is sprung out of the earth.’ Mary, a virgin before conception, remained a virgin after childbirth. Far be it that in this earth, that is, in the flesh out of which Truth has sprung, integrity should be marred. Indeed, after His Resurrection, when He was thought to be merely a spirit and not actually corporeal, He said: ‘Feel me and see; for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.’ Nevertheless, the substance of His mature body passed through closed doors to His disciples. Why, then, could He, who as a grown man was able to enter through closed portals, not pass through incorrupt members as an infant? To neither the one nor the other of these marvels do unbelievers wish to give their assent. Therefore, faith believes both, because infidelity believes neither. In truth, this is that type of unbelief which sees no divinity in Christ. Furthermore, if faith believes that God was born in the flesh, it does not doubt that the two miracles are possible to God, namely, that though the doors of the house were closed, He manifested His mature body to those within the house, and that as an infant He came forth, a spouse from His bride-chamber, that is, from the virginal womb, leaving His Mother’s integrity inviolate” (Sermon 191, 1).

Pete Holter said...

“We marvel at the child-bearing of a virgin and we try to convince unbelievers of this unheard-of manner of birth wherein the fetal life began without seed, and the mother, without human intercourse, brought forth a son of man, whose father she did not embrace as man, and wherein the integrity of virginity remained intact in conception and incorrupt in parturition…

“Let your heart accomplish in the law of Christ what Mary’s womb wrought in the flesh of Christ. How are you not included in the child-bearing of the Virgin since you are the members of Christ? Mary brought forth your Head; the Church, you His members. For the Church, too, is both mother and virgin: mother by the bowels of charity, virgin by the integrity of faith and piety. She brings forth diverse peoples, but they are members of Him whose body and spouse she is, and even in this respect she bears the likeness of the Virgin because in the midst of many she is the mother of unity” (Sermon 192, 1, 2).

“Surpassing all the sons of men in beauty, He, the Son of holy Mary and the Spouse of holy Church, has made the Church like to His Mother, since He made it a mother for us and He kept it a virgin for Himself. [..] What Mary merited physically, the Church has guarded spiritually, with the exception that Mary brought forth one Child, while the Church has many children destined to be gathered into one body by One” (Sermon 195, 2).

“Because she had vowed virginity, and because her husband was, not the destroyer, but the guardian, of her chastity—no, not the guardian, either, for God was the guardian, but her husband was the witness of her virginal chastity, lest she should be considered an adulteress—when the angel made this announcement to her, she said: ‘How shall this happen, since I do not know man?’ If she were planning to know man, she would not wonder. That wonderment is witness of her vow” (Sermon 225, 2).

“Mary bare the Head of This Body after the flesh, the Church bears the members of that Body after the Spirit. In both virginity hinders not fruitfulness: in both fruitfulness takes not away virginity” (Of Holy Virginity, 2).

“Her virginity also itself was on this account more pleasing and accepted, in that it was not that Christ being conceived in her, rescued it beforehand from a husband who would violate it, Himself to preserve it; but, before He was conceived, chose it, already dedicated to God, as that from which to be born. This is shown by the words which Mary spoke in answer to the Angel announcing to her her conception; ‘How,’ says she, ‘shall this be, seeing I know not a man?’ (Luke 1:34) Which assuredly she would not say, unless she had before vowed herself unto God as a virgin” (Of Holy Virginity, 4).

“His mother is the whole Church, because she herself assuredly gives birth to His members, that is, His faithful ones. Also His mother is every pious soul, doing the will of His Father with most fruitful charity, in them of whom it travaileth, until Himself be formed in them. Mary, therefore, doing the will of God, after the flesh, is only the mother of Christ, but after the Spirit she is both His sister and mother. And on this account, that one female, not only in the Spirit, but also in the flesh, is both a mother and a virgin. And a mother indeed in the Spirit… of His members, which are we: in that she wrought together by charity, that faithful ones should be born in the Church, who are members of That Head: but in the flesh, the mother of the Head Himself. For it behoved that our Head, on account of a notable miracle, should be born after the flesh of a virgin, that He might thereby signify that His members would be born after the Spirit, of the Church a virgin: therefore Mary alone both in Spirit and in flesh is a mother and a virgin: both the mother of Christ, and a virgin of Christ” (Of Holy Virginity, 5-6).

Pete Holter said...

Finally, Augustine said that “if her virginity had been marred even in bringing Him forth, He would not have been born of a virgin; and it would be false (which God forbid) that He was born of the Virgin Mary, as is believed and declared by the whole Church, which, in imitation of His mother, daily brings forth members of His body, and yet remains a virgin” (Enchiridion, Ch. 34).

So Augustine says that Mary’s virginity continued even during the birth of Christ, that this was “believed and declared by the whole Church,” and that those who didn’t believe were “unbelievers.” Keeping in mind the promises that Jesus made to His Church, I feel compelled to believe what has been “believed and declared by the whole Church,” and which is in accordance with the Scriptures. Thomas Aquinas spoke truly when he said that “[w]ithout any doubt whatever we must assert that the Mother of Christ was a virgin even in His Birth: for the prophet says not only: ‘Behold a virgin shall conceive,’ but adds: ‘and shall bear a son.’ ”

Thanks for sharing! 1977? I was 2!

“…fellowshipping with the saints at my local church weekly (Sundays, Wednesdays) is part of the Christian walk…” That’s great! I need to make more time for fellowship.

I was a sinner and must cry out for mercy and for God to save me and trust Christ as the only Savior and Lord - I remember John 1:12 being a very important verse.

That’s cool when God brings these or those verses to your heart. When I was not a believer in Christ, I got to hear the testimony of “The Millon Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase at a local church. This was about 15 years ago, but I still remember him saying that the words of Christ, where He says that you have to pick up your cross daily and follow after Him, “spoke loud” to him.

With love in Christ,
Pete